South African consumers have experienced high inflation rates, increased food prices due to the drought, and take home salaries being under pressure in 2016. If this was not enough pressure, they have also had to deal with poor credit extension, Groupon’s closure and continuous customer service-related issues in the Ford Kuga saga.
“As consumers we cannot necessarily control the circumstances that bring about these issues,” says Derek Wilson, Head of SA’s leading insurance and financial services comparison website, Hippo.co.za, “South African consumers should consider taking the power back into their own hands in light of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day when it comes to spending and managing their personal finances”.
World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) takes place every year on 15 March and provides a platform for the consumer market to raise awareness about consumer rights. The day was inspired by John F Kennedy, the first world leader to formally speak about consumer rights, in an address to the US congress on 15 March 1962.
“South African consumers have, amongst others, the Consumer Protection Act that governs their rights in many aspects such as free and unlimited access to goods and services and fair pricing, but when it comes to managing spending they can empower themselves by taking a few simple measures,” says Wilson.
Properly evaluate your needs before purchasing
Whether you are looking to purchase a new car or simply heading to the shops for your monthly shopping, always ensure that you sit down and think about what your exact needs are before purchasing. When looking at purchasing any goods first ensure that your needs are met according to your budget before you cater for the nice-to-haves. Never exceed your budget and always try to make a saving rather than overspend.
Get reviews from other consumers
Going online is an easy way to research what other consumers are saying about a product, service or business. Search online for reviews and news articles and look out for any glitches before you buy. Word of mouth is still the most powerful tool so be sure to ask around from various people about their experience or knowledge of a particular product or service.
Engage with brands
After doing research, go directly to the source to clarify any concerns or issues you may have. The proliferation of digital media have made it easier to communicate directly with brands via social media platforms and as these platforms are open for public viewing, you are more likely to get a response.
When it comes to insurance and financial services, do not simply go with the brand that screams the loudest. Shop around online and get at least three quotes before you buy. Hippo.co.za allows you to get multiple quotes from a range of South African providers in minutes.