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Bolivia: Taking Their Complaints to Their Blogs

[Editor's Note: This is the first contribution of Hugo Miranda, a Bolivian blogger from Oruro]

The local blogosphere is not very developed in Bolivia, making it very unlikely that the businesses pay much attention to complaints or even see the complaints in the first place. There are more and more blogs that make complaints against their failure to deliver services or poor customer service. What makes this odd is that not all of the businesses are local, but national and international companies. Here is a summary of recent complaints by various bloggers.

1. Andrea writes at Lo Digo Yo [ES] and her experiences at Hamburguesas Toby (Toby’s Hamburgers).

She had a bad experience a couple of months ago, when one of her friends became locked in one of the restaurant’s bathrooms and no one seemed to have the key. In the end, they had to force the door open.

Era como si la puerta les importara más que las tres personas que se encontraban adentro. Y luego el negarse a retribuir la comida que se enfrió, cuando a mi parecer era lo más lógico. Lo peor de todo es que en ningún momento se disculparon, ni siquiera cuando se lo pedimos explícitamente. No hace falta decir que llegamos tarde a clases.

Estaba leyendo en el Nuevo Día un artículo sobre las Hamburguesas Toby que decía que “para mejorar debieron terciarizar los servicios y concentrarse en la atención al cliente”. Si así es la atención al cliente hoy en día, no quiero ni imaginarme cómo era antes de que se “concentren” en ella. La verdad es que ninguna promoción de dos hamburguesas por un dólar vale eso.

It was as if the door was more important than the person inside. They later refused to replace the food that turned cold, which seemed to be the logical thing to do. The worst part of it all is that they never said they were sorry, even when we explicitly asked for an apology. To make it worse, we were late for class.

I was reading in the Nuevo Día (local newspaper) about Hamburguesas Toby where it said “in order to improve they should streamline services and concentrate on customer service.” If that is how customer service is today, I don’t want to even imagine how it was before they “made an effort.” In reality, no promotion of 2 hamburgers for 1 dollar is worth all of this.

2. Leonardo Byon of Marketing SOS [ES] and Hipermaxi Supermarkets.

Leonardo explains how this supermarket chain makes more money by not giving the entire change. In his post, he shows that the candy used as change is far from the value of .20 or .10 cents, which is what the supermarket should provide.

En mi caso, fue la alternativa (2). Me dieron 50 centavos y dos dulces de limón. Le exigo que me del cambio exacto en monedas y me dice que no tiene. Es tan costumbre la practica que ya ni siquiera piden disculpas. Curioso, me fui al pasillo de dulces y note que la bolsa del dulce de limon que me habian dado como cambio, tenia un precio de venta final de 10.99 bolivianos por 100 unidades, siendo el precio unitario aprox. 11 centavos.

Dos dulces equivalen a 22 centavos (precio de venta y no precio de costo Hipermaxi). Ni siquiera me habian devuelto el valor equivalente de los 30 centavos restantes.

In my case, it was the alternative (2). They gave me 50 cents and two lemon candies. I demanded that they give me the exact change in coins and they said that they didn’t have it. The practice is so common that they don’t even provide an apology. I was curious so I went to the candy aisle and found the bag of candy that they gave me as change, it had a price tag of 10.99 Bolivianos for 100 pieces, which is about 11 cents each.

Two pieces of candy equals about 22 cents (sale price and not of cost to Hipermaxi). They didn’t even give me the value of the remaining 30 cents.

3. Palabras Libres’ [ES] Mario Duran vs. Banco Mercantil – Santa Cruz and Viva-GSM.

Duran appears to have very little patience with these two businesses, which was explained here in Global Voices, but the other took place months ago. In regards to SMS messages, the website used to send these online messages cannot be seen with Firefox. This is a slight against the users that continue to utilize this navigator, in which he wrote in his letter:

Sin embargo, tales inovaciones no están disponibles para que puedan se aprovechados por todos los usuarios con acceso a Internet, en particular para los usuarios que usan el navegador Firefox. Debido a que una de las secciones del sitio, la que permite enviar mensajes de texto (SMS) no funciona correctamente con este navegador. Los usuarios de Firefox, creemos que esto nos priva de la libertad de escoger lo que consideramos nosotros como el mejor producto para navegar en páginas web porque nos obliga a usar un producto específico para el cual ha sido construida la página.

These innovations are not available to be used by all internet users, especially those who use Firefox, due to the fact that one of the site’s sections, which allows one to send SMS text messages does not work with this navigator. The users of Firefox believe that this deprives us of the freedom to choose what we think for us is the best web navigator, and this requires us to use a specific product.

4. Santa Cruz Denuncia [ES] and the organizers of the appearance of the Harlem Globetrotters in Bolivia

Matias Mendoza deals with the appearance of these famous basketball players in Santa Cruz, who arrived late, as everyone knows. This was due to a flight delay, and the game started at 23:00. What is ironic is that the airline that was delayed was Aerosur, one of the event’s sponsors.

La verdad me pareció una falta de respeto y una burla al público, ya que las entradas no eran nada baratas, había muchos niños, que a esa altura de la noche, como se imaginan estaban dormidos. Incluso creo que yo tampoco disfruté tanto el show por el cansancio que traía encima. Finalmente el show concluyo a las 1 de la madrugada y los organizadores se salieron una vez más con la suya.

Cada vez Santa Cruz es una ciudad más grande, con las ventajas y los problemas que trae esto para su población. Podemos estar progesando en muchas cosas, pero creo que algo en lo que no se ha hecho mucho avance es en el respeto al consumidor. Como sucedió el martes, constantemente existen atropellos hacia el consumidor y no hay quien los defienda.

It really seemed disrespectful and it was a slap in the face to the public because the tickets were not inexpensive at all, and there were a lot of kids that were up late. As one can imagine, many were sleeping. I think that I didn’t really enjoy the show because of being tired. Finally, the show ended at 1:00 a.m. and the organizers came away with the profits.

Santa Cruz is a big city with all the advantages and problems that brings for its population. We can be progressing in many things, but I think what we haven’t progressed as much is with respect to the consumer. As what happened on Tuesday, there are always slights against the consumer and there is no one to defend them.

5. Sebastián Molina of Plan B [ES] and FEDEX.

Sebastian comments about one of the largest delivery services in the world that could not finish the service. Sebastian is adamant about his opinion of this company.

FEDEX es la peor empresa que existe para realizar envio de paquetes de manera interdepartamental en Bolivia.

FEDEX is the worst business to send packages interdepartmentally in Bolivia

There are many more ofthese complaints in the Bolivian blogosphere, which maybe the companies are not reading, but it looks like Google is.

1 comment

  • When one action is put into place, it often times produces ripples; I am referring to the word given on earth to destroy the module, or Space Tomb, that was orbiting the Moon; thus, all forms of ripples, or even waves are ordained thereafter; yes, the Ministers of Doom are released and it is a free-for-all, one might say, and these currents could be many and various–for we deal perhaps with the ages, and beings from the furthermost ends of a galaxy–and know not their capabilities.

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