Wimpy customer finds it pays to stand up for consumer rights

2016-06-30 10:02


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Pietermaritzburg - Standing up for our consumer rights can be a time-consuming and at times even unrewarding bother but if more of us took the time to complain, businesses would be far better informed of how they are doing and where they need to improve.

Sheetal Cross’s complaint to me recently about being charged double after requesting an additional tea bag for a pot of tea at Wimpy Davenport illustrates both the value of taking the time to complain and the importance of always checking your till slip.

Cross visited the restaurant with her brother who had requested a second tea bag, which was popped into his pot of tea at a whopping charge of R19,90 — the price of an additional pot of tea and almost the price of a pack of 100 Five Roses tea bags.

“While I agree that there should be a small surcharge for the additional teabag, I disagree that the pricing should be the total of what is charged for a pot of tea,” Cross complained.

“It is obvious that the full price of a pot of tea carries built-in costs for the hot water, the use of the teapot which has to be washed, waitron delivery and hot milk. None of which applies, when using a single extra teabag. Therefore, R19,90 seems excessive for one extra teabag,” Cross complained.

Cross said she complained to the waiter who told her that this was the standard charge for an additional teabag, so she escalated the matter to the manager who also confirmed this, but agreed to reverse the R19,90 charge in her case. She also addressed the issue with the owner of the franchise at the time.

However, Cross said she was still concerned about the pricing as franchises nationally could be making hundreds of thousands of rands for an item that she believed should be charged for at a lower price.

I asked Wimpy managing executive Molla Bonnet to comment and to clarify the franchise’s policy on pricing for consumers.

Bonnet said the restaurant’s current tea recipe comprised one tea bag per pot with additional tea bags available on request.

“We do not have a specific price point for an extra tea bag and many of our franchisees provide this tea bag free of charge,” she said.

“In the Wimpy Davenport incident a newly appointed restaurant manager interpreted the one-bag policy to mean that additional bags are charged at the full cost of a second pot,” she said.

She said the franchisee had apologised for the incident, waived the charge, and addressed the matter with staff.

Interestingly, she added that at a national franchise meeting earlier this month, following customer feedback showing their preference for stronger tea, it was decided that the recipe would in future include two tea bags.

“There will be no increase in cost to the customer for the extra tea bag — the current price of a pot of tea will remain in effect.

“This change in tea recipe will be communicated to the Wimpy franchise network in our weekly newsletter of July 4 and staff will be retrained accordingly,” she said.

“We appreciate Sheetal Cross’s feedback and trust that the new two-tea bag recipe will meet her brother’s and our other customers’ expectations in future,” she said.

Cross was delighted that her complaint had been heard and with the news of the recipe improvement.

• Send your consumer complaints and compliments regarding excellent customer to consumer@3i.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  wimpy  |  consumer

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