The payment joke

Companies in Brazil are really slack when it comes to customer care or services.

Brazil is the only country I know where samples are not free, where marketing strategies to obtain customer opinions have to be paid by customers, where companies think their problems are your problems.

I sometimes wonder if it´s just the person that attended me that has limitations or if it´s really a company rule: Treat customers like retards and maybe they will continue buying, shut up or go away.

Sociologists and critics (in Brazil at least) have long discussed the difficulty Brazilians have in talking about anything difficult or complicated, like politics, social issues, etc. But the inability to deal with basic customer complaints is really astounding. In some rare cases, you might be lucky enough to be attended by someone that explains things properly, which can often solve your problem, like when my digital TV remote control stopped working. After the 5th call (7th “protocol number”), the remittal of 2 new remotes that did not work either, and an no-show technitian, a kind soul explained how to configure the damn thing over the phone. In 2 minutes the problem was solved, costing me (and the company) precious time, money and effort.

Let me give you an example that has triggered this bout of rage:

The Payment Joke

I paid a bill.
My name was put in the damn Serasa (a credit protection agency)
I complain, sending proof of payment.
They tell me to go to the shop to prove I paid the bill.
The shop is 100 kms. away.
I complain again, asking, “don´t you register payments?”
I get a reply, to register your payment, send proof of payment to…
I complain again.
I get a reply, to register your payment, you can also send a fax to….

Examples like these are often registered on the TV, the subject of endless statements in customer complaint website, which companies seldom answer to.

The Procon, the customer protection agency, can solve some issues but not like they should be solved. They have a direct line to the problem-solvers, who immediately tap a keypad and make your problem disappear, without every registering your complaint in the company or making sure someone else will not go through the same ordeal.

The worse thing is that you cannot avoid it, like you could public hospitals or education…this is a part of system you have to endure, painfully. Daily wars you have to fight in order to pacify that horrid feeling that someone is literally laughing at you. It becomes a matter of dignity.


3 thoughts on “The payment joke

  1. There is nothing outdated about it. We don´t all have the Jeitinho Brazileiro sussed out quite like you do. I don´t use cheques and I would never put anyone I know through that. It´s not a question of making a quick 4K, it´s a question of expecting things to work properly. And they would accept the cheque. The problem was that they did not register the payment after I made it the normal way.


  2. The payment joke is outdated. If you paid the bill, have a witness go with you to a store, try to buy something with a check which for obvious reasons they will deny. Have your witness make a statement about it. Go to the juizados especiais and demand danos morais worth 4K.


  3. Excellent. I went to JOCAR yesterday to get a light bulb changed. I paid R$6 for them to install the bulb because I didn’t feel like doing it. After waiting half an hour in the hot sun I got fed up, requested my R$6 back and left. They were quite astounded that I left in the way I did. If they had just told me it would take about half an hour it would’ve calmed me and I would’ve waited patiently. Their lack of communication made things worse. Also, on the front patio besides their main entrance their employees were sleeping on tiles in the sun. When one person approached them to get their opinion they simply told him to get someone else to see it, couldn’t be bothered to get up. And don’t get me started with Telefonica (charging for a service they didn’t provide, and now having Serasa letters) or Samcil medical, who cancelled my medical aid because my first payment I did at the ATM machine didn’t register on their system. I paid the following three payments but while on holiday they sent a letter saying my first payment wasn’t made. I was away and didn’t respond, so they terminated my medical insurance.

    And then restaurant service… “we don’t want you here and don’t wish to serve you!”

    Oh man, to get my blue work book was a pain. I went to the ministry of work and the lady at the counter said I needed to come back the following day with a certain document. I came back the next day with the document, to which she told me to come back the next day with another certain document. I think it happened a third time. Why she didn’t just tell me the first time ALL the documents I needed astounds me.

    Brazil can really use experts in the field of customer service.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s