Entries tagged with “MTN”.


imageThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Heritage Day/National Braai Day joint Checkers and Uber promotion yesterday, whereby a 1 kg pack of Checkers Boerewors was delivered to one’s home by Uber, at a charge of R60 to one’s Uber account. The delivery was made in an unbelievable delivery time of seven minutes from placing the order via the Uber App! (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Greg Lambrecht has created the Coravin device, to draw a glassful of wine from a bottle without removing the cork, thereby preventing oxidisation, and thereby keeping the bottle drinkable for another few months.

*   e-Tourism is on the up, says SafariNow, a local booking portal.  Due to the weak exchange rate, making international travel expensive, more locals are choosing to travel locally, choosing less expensive accommodation options, spending on average R2300 per day. Social Media is vital, the company says, becoming an electronic word-of-mouth, which is driving the choices of travellers.

*   Not one of South Africa’s many steak restaurants have made the e-Turbonews’ world top twelve restaurants for meat (more…)

Nando's Madiba adIt should have been a surprise that the Sunday Times last weekend contained 10 full page and 16 smaller advertisements in honour of the late Nelson Mandela, given his passing on Thursday evening, and the deadlines of newspapers to ensure their distribution in the early hours of Sunday morning.  It was interesting to evaluate corporate South Africa’s response, in their advertisements, to the passing of our country’s greatest leader, most quoting the wisdom of Madiba in their tributes to him.

Given the two days in which ad agencies had to book their clients’ advertisements, it is clear that they could not have created them in such a short time period, given lead times to conceptualise the ad, obtain client approval, and to produce the material.  It is clear that the major corporates had their farewell ads to Madiba prepared and mothballed for the announcement of his passing.

The most touching and most genuine advertisement, in our opinion, is the one by Nando’s, demonstrating the power of consistency in advertisement layout and typeface, recognisable to any South African without its logo or branding.  The most disgusting of all Mandela AVBOB Whale Cotatge Portfoliothe ads is that by funeral organisers AVBOB, depicting Madiba in daisies, and shouting its pay-off line ‘We’re here for you’!

Pick ‘n Pay’s advertising disappointed, with three full page advertisements in last Sunday’s edition, the one on page 12 in the main body being a crass ‘Price Cuts’ one, amidst the remaining ads all being tributes to Madiba.  Pick ‘n Pay and the media department of its ad agency could have done a better job in planning the placements, requesting its tribute ad in this slot, and its special offer ad in other sections of the paper.  Cynically one could think that the retailer purposely capitalised on the above (more…)

Pick_n_Pay-logo-19A17F34E4-seeklogo.com_The Sweet Service Award goes to Pick ‘n Pay, for their efficient Twitter service.  As the telephone number of the Camps Bay store had changed and is not provided by the Telkom voice which informs that the old number is no longer valid, I Tweeted the retailer, and received the new number within ten minutes!  The Camps Bay store has a new manager Grant Ross, and the store’s service has improved greatly since he took over, it previously having been one of the worst managed stores in the group.  Earlier this week I bought an sms bundle for a member of staff, but had been given a MTN data voucher, which my colleague put into the phone, not realising the error made by the Pick ‘n Pay till operator. Grant kindly replaced the data bundle with an sms bundle voucher. (more…)

Last year, on April Fools’ Day, the Consumer Protection Act became effective, and was heralded as being much-needed legislation to protect consumers against poor service, misleading advertising, and the sale of shoddy products. With the legislation came the establishment of the National Consumer Commission, which was to receive complaints from the public against businesses contravening the Act, and to act against them. Now it appears that the National Consumer Commission is a near failure at executing its mandate.

According to The Times, the National Consumer Commission’s head Mamodupi Mohlala-Malaudzi has become a keen issuer of compliance notices against businesses, many of which have been overturned by the Consumer Tribunal, at a great cost to the businesses affected even if they were successful in getting their cases withdrawn.  A report prepared by the Consumer Tribunal about the operation of the National Consumer Commission has found that its major weaknesses are that compliance notices have been issued without following the correct procedure or being ‘defective’, ‘failure of the commission to understand the act’, issuing notices which the Consumer Protection Act does not allow, badly written documents with errors, ‘contemptuous and unprofessional conduct by the commission when dealing with opposing lawyers and the tribunal‘, and ‘undermining the work of the tribunal’, very serious allegations indeed!  In addition, the National Consumer Commission was found to base its decisions on ‘subjective views’.

It was the findings of this (confidential) Consumer Tribunal report that the National Consumer Commission used to (unsuccessfully) try to have the Consumer Tribunal’s rejection of the Commission’s case against Auction Alliance set aside in the Pretoria High Court.

A compliance notice can cost a business found guilty in terms of the Consumer Protection Act R1 million or 10% in annual turnover if the ruling of the National Consumer Commission is not adhered to.  To date 33 cases have been referred to the Consumer Tribunal, including companies such as Eskom, City of Johannesburg, BMW, Audi SA, Peugeot Citroen SA, Kia, Volkswagen, Telkom, Vodacom, MTN, Top-TV, Cell C, and Multichoice. Of these, the correct procedure in issuing a compliance notice was not followed in six cases, and the Commission did not file responding affidavits to thirteen of the notices!  The newspaper article quotes the example of the City of Johannesburg, against which 45 compliance notices have been set aside!  Only big corporates can afford to challenge a compliance order, due to the cost involved, meaning that smaller businesses are forced to abide by such orders, even if the complaint is unjustified.

It would appear that Mohlala-Malaudzi’s days are numbered at the National Consumer Commission, as her contract with the Commission has not been renewed, expiring at the end of September, a matter which she took to the Labour Court and lost.

In dealing with businesses, it is surprising how few companies know about the Consumer Protection Act, and abide by it.  One of the clauses of the Act prescribes that all repair work must be preceded by written and signed off quotes, but this rarely happens, as we have experienced for car services and repairs at Mercedes Benz in Century City, where they are quick to add R10000 – R20000 of extra nice-to-have part replacements.  We also saw a notice at All Active Electric in Sea Point, which states that repair quotes not accepted will be charged at R50, contravening the Act. Two lamps were given to this company to be fixed, one requiring a wire to be fitted back into the switch, and another needing the brass fitting holding the bulb to be repaired. We were shocked when the bill came to R150, 50% of the purchase cost of the lamps, with additional repairs done which were not requested.  When queried, the staff member quickly dropped the price to R95.  No quote was received, and even the lower price felt like a rip off, despite the quick 24 hour service.  Action TV came to fix a TV channel reception problem at our guest house last week, and could not find a solution on its first visit, despite having done past repairs. A ‘booster‘ was deemed to be necessary, and despite asking, we were not given a quote, being promised one the following day!   The bill has come to R4650, including the booster costing R1780, cabling to the value of R950, and a number of splitters.  The TV system was installed at the guest house 14 years ago, and has worked perfectly without all these extra items.

It is clear that the National Consumer Commission needs to get its house in order, and that it needs a new broom when its head leaves its employ.  It clearly also needs an advertising campaign to inform business owners of their obligations in terms of repair quotations.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:   www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The Manchester United friendly against Ajax Cape Town at Cape Town Stadium yesterday was an exciting one, and Ajax Cape Town can be proud of the 1-1 score, the same score that the Manchester United team achieved in 2008 when it played in Cape Town against Kaizer Chiefs. Whilst the event was a ‘present’ from Grant Pascoe, City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, to the residents of Cape Town, many of whom are Manchester United fans, in paying R 7 million to finance the event, it had no tourism benefit at all, placing the burden on the ratepayers of Cape Town to fund his generosity!

From the outfits worn and the cheering by the Manchester United fans, Capetonians were more loyal to the visitor team than to their own home-grown team. Yet Ajax Cape Town impressed with their attacking play, and in scoring before Manchester United did, the visiting team’s score coming from Bebe in the last minute, in injury time.

For many Capetonians the event yesterday was their first opportunity to experience the Cape Town Stadium, two years after eight matches were played there at far more expensive ticket prices, and hard to come by at that time, as one had to bid for the tickets sold by FIFA. Yesterday 55000 soccer fans filed into the stadium, not put off by the torrential rain just two hours prior to the start of the match, leading to wide-spread flooding of roads in the Green Point area, and disrupting traffic. But the weather gods were kind to the teams and fans, when the rain stopped just before the 3 pm start, and some blue sky could be seen from inside the stadium. Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United Manager, praised the ‘excellent pitch‘. His team travels to China, Norway, Sweden, and Germany next.

The organisational aspects of the match were disappointing, the security and hosting of the event left to the Enforce Security company, whose staff appeared to have minimal training. Two years ago many Capetonians, including ourselves, worked as volunteers at the Cape Town Stadium over the four week World Cup period, but none appeared to have been re-used for this event. The security guidelines as to what one was allowed to take into the stadium were onerous on paper, reflecting those of the World Cup, but the monitoring of this was inconsistent, in that my colleague’s water bottle was confiscated, and mine not. The seating block number was specified on the ticket, but there were no hosts to guide one as to where the blocks are, the signage being confusing. In the seating areas casually dressed young persons showed one to one’s seats, yet around us tempers were flaring, laden with racial overtones, due to spectators having to change seats when others arrived late to take up their booked seats, having been shown incorrect rows and seats initially. Offering Castle beer to buy throughout the stadium may not have been a good idea, and we observed heavy consumption of it around us, no doubt fuelling the aggression, a shame due to the feel-good atmosphere generally. The event kicked off with the singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ for Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday on Wednesday, all spectators standing out of respect for the nation’s icon. Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille’s outfit, in the colour of cellphone sponsor MTN, and Premier Helen Zille’s South African flag outfit, were criticised on Twitter.

The only hospitality businesses that appear to have benefited from the soccer event were the Green Point Main Road restaurants Rhapsody’s and Café Extrablatt, McDonald’s next to the stadium, and some V&A Waterfront restaurants selling sandwiches. No accommodation establishments appear to have received bookings from out-of-town visitors for the event. SA Breweries sold its Castle beer inside the stadium, and some local caterers sold hamburgers. When the City announced the friendly, and its R7 million expenditure, Councillor Pascoe justified the cost in saying that the visiting team would be travelling with about 100 international journalists, and ‘that helps us and puts us on the map’, he said. Filming a soccer match hardly has a tourism benefit, as Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain is not visible from inside the stadium, once again demonstrating that Councillor Pascoe is out of his depth in handling the Tourism, Events and Marketing portfolio for the City of Cape Town, with no experience in any of these disciplines. Councillor Pascoe was severely criticised for his role in Cape Town not being successful in its bid to host some of the matches for the African Cup of Nations 2013 (Afcon 2013). The 8 Nations Under 20 soccer tournament at the end of May was a poor compensation for losing out on Afcon 2013, and was a spectacular failure in its small match spectator sizes.

POSTSCRIPT 22/7: Twitter follower Claire Alexander has Tweeted that this blogpost was remiss in not highlighting that tourism this winter is at an all time low, which we believed to be evident, and that this blogpost was written from that perspective.

POSTSCRIPT 28/7: The City of Cape Town’s ANC councillors criticised the City’s expenditure on the soccer match, in not benefiting many residents of Cape Town, who go to bed hungry, while the City projects itself as ‘an efficient and tourist city’, reports the Cape Argus. The article also states that Primedia Sport was paid R3,5 million by the City to pay for the right to host the match.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Interesting is the news that the Western Cape province is to introduce a Consumer Affairs Tribunal next month, given the existence of the National Consumer Commission which deals with consumer complaints relating to the Consumer Protection Act nationally.  The reason for this may be that the National Consumer Commission appears to be understaffed.

The Western Cape has had its own Consumer Protector for a number of years, and received 9000 consumer complaints in 2011, of which it was able to resolve two-thirds, reports the Cape Argus.  Complaints which have received ‘stalemate‘ status between supplier and customer will be the first ones to be heard by the Consumer Affairs Tribunal, which will run like a court.  Outcomes of cases heard by the Consumer Affairs Tribunal will be the replacement of products or the payment of refunds/compensation to consumers.  A similar consumer court has already been introduced in the Gauteng province. The largest number of consumer complaints relate to the motor industry, ‘serial offender’ cellphone companies, and small food retailers, says the National Consumer Forum.  A bath re-glazing company will be one of the first local companies brought to the Cape consumer court.

The Western Cape Consumer Affairs Tribunal will be chaired by Advocate Robert Vincent, with Advocate Mandla Mdludlu, Herman Wessels, Jacki Lange, Theo Burrows, and Selby Tindleni as further members of the Consumer Tribunal, reports Bolander. Complaining consumers will be represented by an attorney of the Office of the Consumer Protector, while companies can appoint their own lawyers.

The shortage of funding for the National Consumer Commission may result in a four month closure of its call centre, writes Business Report, given the vast shortage of staff.  Of the 28000 complaints it receives per month, its five call centre operators can only deal with 8000.  The National Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala is asking for a budget of R 134 million, saying that without the funding ‘we are rendered toothless and there will be serious consequences’.  At any moment 70 calls are on hold at the National Consumer Commission call centre.  Fifteen cases have been brought before the National Consumer Tribunal since April last year, when the Consumer Protection Act came into being.  Investigations of the country’s four largest medical aid schemes, cellphone operators (Cell C, Vodacom, MTN and Telkom), pharmaceutical companies, Checkers/Shoprite, JD Group, and the Lewis Group are being undertaken by the National Consumer Commission.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio, www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

The struggling local tourism industry, which is feeling the pinch due to the strong Rand and the depressed United Kingdom economy, is delighted that the country’s tourism marketing body is to spend R 30 million in encouraging locals to travel in South Africa, and not go overseas, reports Biz.Community.com.

The SA Tourism TV, radio, print, online, mobile and outdoor advertising campaign is to encourage locals to go on affordable ‘domestic’ trips more often, Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, said at the launch of the campaign.   The Minister described ‘domestic tourism’ as the ‘backbone of the industry’, and quoted figures that show significant growth from 22% to 31 % of percentage spend on holiday travel in just twelve months.   In passenger numbers, domestic tourists represent 79% of tourists traveling in the country. In 2010, 29,7 million domestic trips were undertaken by South Africans, generating an income of R21,1 billion.

“The message is clear here: tourism and culture are related and we are going to increase our marketing resources this year to showcase our hidden treasures to our citizens.  South Africa has a very young population that has begun to travel”, said S A Tourism CEO Thandiwe January-McLean.  SA Tourism’s partners in the domestic tourism marketing campaign include MTN, Pick ‘n Pay, Kulula.com, Flight Centre and Thompsons Holidays.

At the launch function, the Cycad Modjadji Nature Reserve with more than 10000 cycads, some as old as 6000 years, was launched.

At the recent Western Cape Tourism Destination Conference  the message was loud and clear: maintain the international source markets, but focus on domestic tourism, due to the economic downturn, reflecting S A Tourism’s marketing action. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecotatge.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The second Sweet Service Award goes to Christopher Duigan from Music Revival in Pietermaritzburg, for spoiling Franschhoekers and others with a most wonderful Spring Classical Music Festival last weekend, the fifth such Festival to be held in Franschhoek.      Not only does Duigan organise the musical content of the weekend-long programme, but he also performed at all six concerts.   Bravo to performers Christopher Duigan, Joanne Rozario, the Kerimov Trio, James Grace and Federico Freschi, as well as to the sponsors Ebony, La Fontaine, Clarins, and Nedbank, for making the Music Festival possible! 

 

The Sour Service Award goes to Google, represented by Carnelian Event Management, for cancelling a Google Adwords workshop for members of Cape Town Tourism a day before the workshop, earlier this week, without informing the members of Cape Town Tourism, despite a promise to Cape Town Tourism Operations Manager Bronwen d’Oliviera that they would do so.   The Cape Town Tourism, S A Tourism and MTN brands, which were sponsorship partners of the workshops, have been negatively affected, and the delegates that booked for the workshops severely inconvenienced.    Cape Town Tourism did send an sms to its members, but forgot to inform those members that have opted to not receive their intrusive sms-messages.  Carnelian Event Management did not respond to an invitation to comment. 

 

 

 

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.