Know your ombuds
How many times have you wanted to scream or slap someone silly over the bad service you have received? How many times have you asked to see the manager, only to be more frustrated when you leave the establishment?
Service across many industries leaves a lot to be desired, but as a consumer you have rights and recourse too. The Ombudsman (for any industry) is an institution set up to look into consumer complaints. Nearly every industry has its own Ombudsman. Here is a list of various Ombudsman:
Ombudsman for Banking Services
This office resolves complaints to do with banking services and products. The role of the banking ombudsman is to resolve banking complaints impartially, speedily and confidentially. The service is free and only applies to bank related issues.
As a consumer, you must follow the complaints procedure of the bank you are having a problem with, before you can approach the Ombudsman.
The process to follow:
- Contact the bank and submit your complaint to them.
- Allow the bank time to solve the problem.
- If the bank comes back with an answer which you aren’t happy with, then exercise your right to take up the matter with the banking ombudsman.
Contact the ombudsman for banking on:
- Sharecall: 0860 800 900
- Telephone: 011 712 1800
- Fax: 011 483 3212
- Post: PO Box 87056, Houghton, 2041
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.obssa.co.za
National Credit Regulator
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) is the regulator for the National Credit Act (NCA) and, in short, regulates the South African credit industry. The NCR is tasked to ensure that everyone in the credit industry follows the rules and regulations of the National Credit Act.
The NCR is also tasked with carrying out education, research, policy development, the registration of credit providers, credit bureaux and debt counsellors, and the investigation of complaints.
If you are experiencing problems with your debt counsellor, you can contact the NCR on:
- ShareCall: 0860 627 627
- Telephone: 011554 2600
- Fax: 011 554 2871
- Post: PO Box 209, Halfway House, 1685
- Email: email@example.com or (debt counselling complaints) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.ncr.org.za
Please note that additional contact details have been provided during the COVID-19 lockdown. These can be found on their website.
The Office of the Credit Ombud resolves complaints from consumers and businesses that are negatively impacted by credit information. It also assists when a consumer has a dispute with a credit provider.
If you have drawn a credit report from a credit bureau and found incorrect information on it, you should take it up with the credit bureau first. Should you be unhappy with the outcome or you don’t get a response within 20 working days, then you should approach the Credit Ombudsman.
You can contact the office of the Credit Ombud on:
- MaxiCall: 0861 662 837
- Telephone: 077 781 6431
- Fax: 086 674 7414
- Post: PO box 805, Pinegowrie, 2123
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.creditombud.org.za
Ombudsman for long term insurance
Established in 1985, this office mediates in matters of insurance contracts. Policyholders who submit a complaint to the Ombudsman may still decide to follow the conventional civil justice process, although these two processes are not allowed to proceed simultaneously. Key requirement to get assistance from this office is that insurance policies should have been marketed or effected in South Africa.
By mid 2019, the Ombudsman for long term insurance had recovered R185.8 million for complainants. The bulk of complaints related to funeral benefits. Services by the long term insurance ombudsman are completely free. Industry subscribers are bound by the Ombudsman’s rulings.
Contact the long term insurance ombud on:
- Sharecall: 0860 662 837
- Telephone:021 657 5000
- Fax:021 674 0951
- Post:Private Bag X45, Claremont, 7735
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.ombud.co.za
Ombudsman for short term insurance
This independent office was established in 1989 and provides consumers with a free, efficient and fair dispute resolution mechanism. Short term insurance disputes undertaken by this office include:
- House owners (buildings)
- Householders (contents)
- Credit protection insurance
- Commercial insurance on a limited basis
Contact the short term insurance ombud on:
- Sharecall: 0860 726 890
- Telephone: 011 726 8900
- Fax: 011 726 5501
- Post: PO Box 32334, Braamfontein, 2017
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.osti.co.za
Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa
This independent institution resolves disputes where a deadlock has been reached between the motor industry (and related industries) and their customers. While the service is free, should a technical inspection need to be carried out, the consumer laying the complaint will have to pay for this inspection.
Contact the motor industry ombud on:
- MaxiCall: 0861 164 672
- Fax: 086 630 6141
- Post: Suite 156, Private Bag x025, Lynnwood Ridge, 0040
- Email: Info@miosa.co.za
- Website: http://www.miosa.co.za
This office has been set up to enhance tax administration and provide an independent redress channel for taxpayers who have exhausted the normal SARS complaints mechanism. The Tax Ombudsman maintains a balance between SARS’s powers and duties, and taxpayer’s rights and obligations. As a result, the Tax Ombudsman communicates with SARS officials and has access to the SARS system and taxpayer information in order to resolve complaints.
Contact the tax ombud on:
- Sharecall: 0800 662 837
- Telephone: 012 431 9105
- Fax: 012 452 5013
- Post: PO Box 12314, Hatfiled, 0028
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.taxombud.gov.za
As South African consumers, it is important to know that we have rights and we can exercise these rights to our benefit. Take up your complaints with the correct people. It is your right as a South African consumer and citizen.