Customer Care / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 14 October 2020 — In the official press, they published: “In view of the  multiplicity of legislation and the increasing incidence of infringement of consumer rights, the Ministry of Internal Commerce (Mincin) approved Resolution No. 54, of 2018, published today in the Official Gazette, known as Directions for the organisation and effecting of consumer protection in domestic commerce, whose implementation will show the way for future Consumer Protection Law”.

Twenty two months have passed and nothing has changed. If anyone thinks that resolutions and laws will resolve the long-established mistreatment of customers, he is living in a dream world. Bits of paper are bits of paper, and no-one takes any notice of them, starting off with the people who write them.

In the Republic, this phenomenon didn’t exist, and there were no resolutions or laws, and none were needed, because there was a fundamental principle: “The customer is always right”.  Anyone who did not respect that could not function in commerce or services, and had to find work which had no direct contact with the public. Employers and employees knew that.

There was the “customer”, and they hadn’t invented the “user”, a worn-out import from socialism. More than that, employees generally got supplements to their basic salaries and rewards for the sales they made: if you sold more, you got more — apart from working in businesses and agencies which were agreeable, clean, mostly air-conditioned and even with background music.

A long time ago, all this changed for the worse: today, generally, people get miserable pay, whether they sell, or they don’t sell, work conditions aren’t that good, and, as if that weren’t bad enough, their bosses are great at being absent during working hours, not worrying themselves about what was happening under their supposed administration.

All of this was, and is, a breeding ground for the ill-treatment of people in general, and, even worse, for generalised corruption.

With Coronavirus and the control measures and regulation of sales, the way the public is treated has got even worse: buying an essential product has turned into a total chore, which starts off with waiting in a line for hours in the early morning, and ends up, if the product actually is forthcoming, very  late in the day. And this repeats day after day, as products appear drop by drop in the market. And if you’re talking in terms of customer crae, and regulations, and a supposed law, forget it. In reality, it’s devil take the hindmost.

Translated by GH