THE COMPLAINTS PROCESS
- HANDLING COMPLAINTS
- THE COMPLAINTS PROCESS
- REFERRAL TO CGSO
- WHAT CAN YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT?
- WHO CAN COMPLAIN?
- LIMITS TO THE CGSO's JURISDICTION
- TERMINATION BY THE COMPLAINANT
The CGSO is obligated to enforce the Consumer Goods and Services Industry Code of Conduct by:
- Receiving and dealing with complaints and disputes by a consumer relating to its Code of Conduct or the Consumer Protection Act free of charge
- Investigating alleged contraventions
- Attempting to facilitate a settlement between parties
- Addressing each complaint in an unbiased manner
- Making recommendations as to how the dispute should be settled.
Laying the Complaint
- A consumer is dissatisfied with goods / a service received.
- The consumer must, as soon as possible, first refer the matter to the participant (the organisation the complaint is being laid against) by the following means :
- Contacting the suppliers customer care line/ department directly.
- Calling the CGSO call center (860 000 272) which will capture the complaint and refer it to the participant, or
- Completing and submitting the complaint form.
- The complaint must be referred in accordance with the participant’s internal complaints handling process.
- Should the consumer go to the CGSO first, the Ombud will refer the consumer back to the participant.
- A consumer who referred a complaint to the participant is dissatisfied with the manner in which the participant is dealing with it, or the outcome.
- The consumer may now refer the complaint to the CGSO by downloading and submitting the complaint form.
- This must be done as soon as reasonably possible and within 36 months of the consumer becoming aware of event resulting in the complaint.
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Extract from the Code Of Conduct for the Consumer Goods and Services Industry:
The CGSO may consider a complaint brought by or on behalf of the consumer who is: a private individual; or a juristic person (company, trust or partnership) Small business whose asset value or annual turnover is below the threshold amount determined from time to by the Minister in terms of section 6 (1) of the Act (Presently R 2 million).
- Amount Involved
The CGSO may not consider a complaint or dispute that relates to a juristic person as a consumer whose asset value or annual turnover equals or exceeds the threshold amount determined from time to by the Minister in terms of section 6 (1) of the Act (Presently R 2 million).
- Time Limit
The CGSO may not consider a complaint or dispute that relates to an act or omission which occurred before the Act came into effect or in any event more than 36 (thirty six) months prior to the date when the complaint was lodged with the CGSO as such claims have become prescribed by law. The period of 36 (thirty six) months commences on the date on which the complainant became aware or ought reasonably to have become aware of such occurrence, whichever occurs first.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: If your complaint is more than 30 months old and you intend approaching the Tribunal or a court if you are unsuccessful in resolving it through CGSO, you are advised rather to approach the National Consumer Commission directly. The CGSO cannot take responsibility for a claim prescribing while it is dealing with it.
- Other Processes
If after a preliminary assessment of the complaint or at any stage during the process that any of the factors referred to below become apparent, the CGSO shall not further consider a complaint or dispute that is in the opinion of the Ombud:
1. falls within the jurisdiction of any other statutory Ombud as enabling legislation; or
2. is based on the same event and facts as any matter which is, was, or becomes, the subject of any proceedings in any court, tribunal or regulatory body or by a statutory Ombud of any jurisdiction, unless CGSO has considered it appropriate to intervene and is not prohibited from doing so under any law; or
3. would more appropriately be dealt with by the police, a court of law, by any regulatory body or through any other dispute resolution process.
CGSO shall not further consider a complaint or dispute that is in the opinion of the Ombud:
- is being pursued in an unreasonable, frivolous, vexatious, offensive, threatening or abusive manner;
- does not allege any facts which, if true, would constitute grounds for a remedy under the Code or Act;
- is lacking in substantive merit;
- has been substantially dealt with by the CGSO;
- is based on the same event and facts as any matter which is, was, or becomes, the subject of any proceedings in any court or other independent dispute resolving body;
- is under consideration by a legal practitioner on behalf of a consumer, whether or not with a view to institute legal proceedings, unless the Ombud determines that the involvement of a legal practitioner is appropriate in the circumstances.
A complainant may at any time terminate the CGSO’s handling of the complaint and resort to litigation or other dispute resolution process by withdrawing the complaint in writing to the CGSO. Should the complaint wish to approach the National Consumer Commission or Tribunal, CGSO shall inform the complainant of the processes for doing so.