A South African man disgruntled by what he deemed poor service from Cell C, specifically a franchise of Cell C at Sandton City, has found a novel way to fight back-by erecting an opposing billboard.
George Prokas, a Cell C customer had an overdue account dispute with the service provider which accused him of having an account that was R5 000 ($447) in arrears. The man reportedly had a counter dispute concerning a phone which he said was not repaired to his requirements.
It is not clear from the report how the wrangling between the service provider and customer went from there but Mr. Prokas was not going to go down without a fight.
He reportedly forked out R61 000 (almost $5 500) to erect a banner at a prominent location at a popular shopping mall-World Wear mall- after warning the service provider of his intentions to erect the billboard. The conspicuous banner reads: “ The most useless service provider in SA-Cell C Sandton City.” and goes on to give the name and cell number of the offending franchise manager’s name and cell number at the bottom.
According to the latest reports the banner is now at the center of a legal dispute in a South Gauteng High Court with Cell C saying its defamatory whilst the angry client’s lawyers are arguing that it is free speech representing the customer’s fair assessment of the service provider’s services.
I am not a lawyer but two things stick out: Banners are an effective way of getting your service provider’s attention even if they are dragging you to court which is way better than being ignored. It would also appear that money is not a problem in this case since Mr. Prokas could clearly afford to settle his account but chose not to do so.
Locally we all doubtlessly, have been on the receiving end of some sort of corporate mishap that in the end saw us being the ultimate losers.
Maybe you ordered that good looking Chinese phone online and you were shocked on how the different the one that arrived in you package was different from your photos and descriptions and specifications on the seller’s website.
Or more commonly there is a glowing review of an ISP or IAP in the newspaper mentioning how awesome their unlimited package is and how you can reach speeds of up to so many Mbps. Only to learn after you have bought expensive equipment and made a serious financial commitment that there is a catch.
Maybe it’s shaping because you have broken some secret Fair Usage Policy by unfair acts now you are treated to a regulatory system somewhat akin to the NSA’s FISA courts.
Your acts are weighed and judged in absentia and without your knowledge and the punishment is you are put in the sin bin of crawling speeds.
When you complain you attention is drawn to the fine print that mentioned terms and conditions in a tiny font at the bottom of your sign up forms and how by appending your signature you agreed to all these horrible things.
Let’s not forget how we also have ZESA and its sister parastatals to whom customer service is a foreign word. Despite the former’s published power cuts schedules no one seems to adhere to them. They can cut power on a whim or make repairs without ever communicating this to their customers who pay for the services what is going on.
Their hydrophobic equipment fails at the slightest whiff of rain and they take their time repairing it. ZBC continues to spew unwanted content despite complaints from the few remaining who still watch the channel(s): Skippy the Kangaroo and Conan the Barbarian both from over three decades ago seriously?
Well if you are sick of all these and other poor services maybe its time you erected your own banner. I can think of some fairly conspicuous places: Joina City, Eastgate, Africa Unity Square and for ZESA the stadium during a ZPC Kariba match. I can’t believe they are playing the best football of their life whilst we are having load shedding. They are supposed to provide electricity not play football right? Or am I wrong?