Complaints about banks and online shopping rise in South Africa


The Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman has seen a substantial increase in complaints related to online shopping, City Press reports.

Complaints relating to online shopping accounted for around 6% of the total complaints received by the ombudsman in March 2020, but in the 2020/21 financial year this figure rose to 27%.

Ombud spokesperson Ouma Ramaru said that in 2020 complaints stood at 1,800.

The figure rose to 2,198 in 2021, and the ombudsman’s office has already received 500 such complaints in 2022.

“Not all vendors were equipped to meet the high demand for products online,” City Press quoted Ramaru as saying.

She explained that nearly half of the complaints received were about goods failing or taking too long to deliver.

Ramaru added that the majority of these complaints could be resolved with efficient and timely communication from the suppliers of the goods.

Note that the July 2021 riots caused significant delays in delivery in South Africa, which likely contributed to the increase in registered complaints in 2021.

Couriers were among the businesses affected by the looting, which saw warehouses damaged, equipment stripped and vandalized, and customer packages stolen.

In the banking sector, the banking ombudsman’s communications manager, Kwanda Vabaza, highlighted the prevalence of phishing scams that compromise financial and personal information.

“Too many people still fall prey to phishing. Either they click on links and then enter their confidential information, or they give their login credentials, CVV number [the security numbers on the back of a bank card] or a one-time password to phone scammers,” City Press quoted Vabaza as saying.

Phishing scams have become increasingly common, with a survey by Liquid Intelligent Technologies revealing that 79% of South African businesses surveyed reported a increase in cyber threats in 2021.

The most common cybersecurity threats faced by these companies were email attacks, which included phishing attempts.

Email phishing attacks can take many forms, ranging from less serious attempts to trick people into revealing personal information, to distributing malicious files that can take control of a user’s computer or whole network.

Vabaza said customers cannot request a refund from their bank in most phishing cases.

However, if SIM card swap fraud authorized criminals to acquire a customer’s one-time password, the mediator asks the banks to reimburse the victims.

Vabaza added that another common complaint is those who take out loans without fully understanding the fees they will be charged.

“We often find that people whose first language is not English don’t understand contracts. It is your right to insist that the contract be available in your language or summarized in the language of your choice,” he said.

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