Last Updated on January 19, 2023 4:27 pm by Editor
The recent announcement by the FTC (Fair Trading Commission) that the BWA (Barbados Water Authority) will face sanctions for what we at Barbados Uncensored call “customer disservice”, is good news.
However, much more needs to be done with that institution to even begin to assuage the wrath of customers. In an ongoing case of which Barbados Uncensored is aware, the institution continues to issue bills to a customer who has a credit balance with the institution (meaning the institution owes the customer) completely ignoring its own written admission that such an accounting irregularity exists!
Despite several emails and conversations with the institution, the matter is still unresolved and the customer is still being freshly billed. To say that this is a gross miscarriage of justice is an understatement. By any standard, the BWA would have to be declared the winner of the Customer Disservice Award for 2022.
Malfeasances like this help us understand why the Barbados Auditor General’s report takes on the same tone and trajectory every single year. As financial expert Krystal Howell has opined, one cannot understand how the political directorate of this country can continue to borrow the substantial sums of money from international institutions given that it does not know the state of its finances with respect to assets and liabilities. But this is who we have been for a long time!
Strangely enough, we do not consider malfeasances such as that perpetrated by the BWA as violence. But they are! Therefore, we will never understand why a citizen will sometimes resort to “counter-violence” to get justice. Fortunately, this has not been the case in this country so far. But the world is not the same place as it was two, three years ago!
The practice of government offices not answering telephone calls seems to be growing. We are aware of and have experienced this phenomenon ourselves with the BRA and the BWA. However, it appears that the GEED (Government Electrical Engineering Department) has decided to join the list of offenders.
In some government departments one often finds the receptionist engaged in intense non-essential conversations on the phone much to the “pisspiration” of clients. For reasons best known to them, such attendants think that this is normal and worse of all, “fair”. Nowadays the offenders can either be male or female, a very interesting development indeed.
Counting the Cost
Here is the true cost of this despicable behaviour that is going unpunished:
- When a government department does not answer the phone, the customer has to stop what he or she is doing and make his or her way to that office especially if the matter is urgent. So the customer loses productive time.
- To make that trip the customer as to expend several bus fares or burn gas which increases the customers expenses.
- Coincidentally, both of the above actions by the customer contribute to pollution and global warming against which the leader of this country is an outspoken advocate.
- Finally, each government department is already spending substantial sums of taxpayers’ money each month on some of the most sophisticated and expensive phone systems. Here the customer/ taxpayer pays again.
For the foregoing reasons, it is high time that a system of monitoring of government employees’ communication with the public be instituted. Those who refuse to reform appropriately ought to be duly fired!
Lest we forget, this state of customer disservice also plays out in the court system. Citizens waiting to have simple traffic cases heard are marshalled by guards and treated as though they were criminals on remand. The system is stacked against the victim, especially those who were victims of sexual crimes. The court system should not be outside the purview and principles of good customer service. Justice delayed is justice denied.
This current government won all 30 seats in the 2022 election. Many of the 30 MPs are drawing a salary but are underemployed with respect to the people’s business. It is high time that at least one of these persons be saddled with the business of rooting out customer disservice in government departments.
It is one thing for the Prime Minster to trot across the globe making out a case for climate change mitigation finance for this and other countries. It is quite another to stop contributing to global warming by having citizens commuting to and from government department unnecessarily.
It is still another thing to be wasting taxpayers’ money and yet another to end the rotten customer service from so many government agencies that infuriates and makes the lives of citizens much more stressful! It is time to take care of the pennies and let the pounds take care of themselves.