Here are our predictions for 2019. No, we don't have psychic abilities, just enough evidence and intuition to feel certain that they'll come true.
1. People will still sign things they shouldn’t sign, and won’t sign things that they should sign
People will continue not to read and understand hire purchase and loan agreements, tenancies and, most importantly, investments and insurance product policies. They'll carry on assuming (incorrectly) that “verbal” agreements have some value when they later need to take action against someone who has abused them. This failure will be exploited by less-than-honest people.
2. Cellular network operators
We will continue to be disappointed, frustrated and angered by cellular network providers who appear to be short-changing us with airtime, data and general quality of service.
3. Some event organisers will continue to be useless
Is any further explanation necessary?
4. Ponzi and pyramid schemes
Ponzi and pyramid schemes will continue to promise wealth, comfort and excitement in return for recruiting multiple levels of victims beneath us. They will have only one aim: to make lots of money for the people at the top and at the expense of those lower down. However, they’ll soon face the fact that, for the first time in our history as a nation, their schemes are now illegal. Section 9 of 2018 Consumer Protection Act will make a difference.
5. Electricity and water will continue to increase in price
That’s just how life is.
6. Public transport providers
Some public transport providers will continue to be awful, horrible people who hold their paying customers in contempt and will continue to employ psychopaths as drivers.
7. Miracle cures
Peddlers of miracle and magical health claims will find that Botswana is a harder place to sell their dangerous lies. They won’t go away but they will be silenced more quickly thanks to new and more effective regulators.
Regulators with an interest in consumer protection will be a bit more effective BUT only if consumers demand that they do and support them by raising issues and submitting complaints to them. BOCRA, BOMRA, BOBS, NBFIRA are all being more active. We pay for them to exist, so let’s get our money’s worth.
9. Best Before and expiry dates
Best Before dates will continue to be just advisory. Expiry dates will continue to be the things that matter. Consumers will continue not to understand the difference.
10. My Salary might have competition
There will be even more dedicated, inspirational and amazing people working in customer service.
11. It's 2019
Some companies will understand that it’s 2019 and the ways they engaged with customers in the past are out-dated. They’ll understand that, whether they like it or not, consumers can now express their feelings wherever, whenever and however they like. And there’s nothing companies can do about that. Their choice will be to accept that and work with it, or die.
People will continue to say that Bitcoin is the future of money but they’re probably related to those who said MySpace was the future of the internet. Something like Bitcoin might end up being important and blockchain technology is fascinating but don’t believe the hype. It’s an area that will continue to have more than its fair share of Ponzi and pyramid schemes and other scams. Victims will lose a lot of money.
In 2019 Consumer Watchdog will spend even more time on consumer education. I mean LOTS more time. Watch this space!