The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) lays out how the consumer complaint process works and what value it provides Institute members
The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA)’s consumer complaint process is sometimes viewed in a negative light by members but Gary Macnamara, executive director of IOPSA, explained that the fact that consumers have an option for recourse should something go wrong with a plumbing installation etc., is merely another benefit that IOPSA members enjoy.
“A consumer can feel comfortable using an IOPSA member because there is recourse,” Macnamara said. The consumer complaint process that the Institute has put into place provides consumers and plumbers with an impartial adjudicator when problems arise.
The intention is not to usurp the plumber’s authority in anyway. If the consumer has a problem with the plumber, and they contact IOPSA for advice. The Institute’s first suggestion is always that the consumer talks to the plumber. It is only when every option has been exhausted and no solution can be reached that IOPSA will step in.
Not only does this provide the consumer with support, should something go awry, but this process is also intended to support the plumber, should the consumer’s claims be unfounded. “We can very quickly assess if the complaint is legitimate,” said Macnamara.
About 80% of the complaints that IOPSA receives are made about non-members.
“If you’re delivering quality, there’s value in that,” said Macnamara.
It is important to note that any complaints made to IOPSA must be made in writing. If a consumer phones in a complaint, they will be asked to put it in writing. The reason for this is to weed out spurious complaints, and to enable IOPSA to establish the accuracy of the facts of the case.
How it works for members
- IOPSA will confirm that the contractor/plumber is a member and in good standing with the Institute.
- A compliant form is to be sent out to the complainant with the instruction that it must be fully completed with all supporting documentation submitted.
- Once complaint form has been received from the consumer and is fully completed, the complaint is allocated to the respective regional chairman to process.
- The chairman will assess the complaint and send it to the member for an official response.
- When the member’s response has been received, an inspection at the complainant’s property can be carried out and a ruling given if required.
- Site inspections or meetings must be conducted in a professional manner at all times.
- The ruling and written report must be given to the national administrator to close the complaint and give formal feedback to member and complainant within two weeks.
If the member is found to be at fault, disciplinary measures will be instituted. But only as a last resort – the member will be given every opportunity to correct whatever mistakes have occurred.