What you see is sometimes NOT what you get

SOCIAL MEDIA TO THE CONSUMER’S RESCUE

How many times has it happened to you when food being advertised on TV or food porn pictures on Facebook automatically brings your salivary glands into overdrive. You get an insatiable craving for that food that you have little choice but to promise yourself to dine there at the next possible opportunity, like immediately that night.

And when you finally get a hold of the supposedly big-portioned burger oozing with juiciness with melting cheddar dripping all over, reality sinks in. Whatever you saw on the ad is nothing like whatever it is you are holding in your hand. The so-called quadruple-pounder of 100% Angus beef burger is a sad version of it’s pimped-up self on the media.

When false advertising happens, it is your right as a consumer to bring it to the attention of the Department of Trade and Industry. Among the objectives of The Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA 7I394) is to protect the interest of the consumer against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices.

But how many of us actually take the trouble to assert our rights? When I checked out DTI’s website, it says that as consumers, our first recourse of action is to gather evidence of the violation, go back to the seller and inform them of our preferred settlement. Only if this doesn’t work can you complain to DTI via a formal letter of complaint. And upon consultation of their matrix of agencies… they lost me at matrix.

I was expecting an online form or a hotline for as these are convenient for consumers. It would also encourage reports of violations and it would improve the quality of businesses in the country. Yet, the process to get back the 50 pesos you spent for a crappy slice of pizza that had hair in it which the seller refuses to accept back is long and arduous.

Thanks to social media, it is now easy for the public to send out their grievances for a particular brand or store by going to their page on Facebook or tagging them on Twitter with a picture of their soup with a fly swimming in it. And because of this, brands are more conscious of what they market out there. Some international brands are taking their consumer’s complaints or questions seriously and actually taking time to produce videos to address it head on.

An example is this humorous video response from Bodyform when a guy named Richard accused them of producing misleading advertising over the years:

Bodyform’s viral video also shows that they are the first to laugh at themselves which endeared them to their consumers more. And 5 million views for this viral video makes the hassle of producing it all worth it.

Hopefully these great marketing techniques employed by the above-mentioned companies would encourage Filipino companies to respond in the most appropriate social media kind of way.

Do you know of Filipino brands who have great responses to customer complaints?

Mara Cantonao
Mara Cantonao

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