The office of the Credit Ombud has various initiatives in place to educate and enlighten consumers on the credit industry as a whole, and where they can go to for assistance.
Consumer education is an integral part of the work done by the office of the Credit Ombud. Many consumers are still not fully aware of their rights when it comes to credit-related matters, and the consumer education offered by the Credit Ombud is vital in closing this gap. Consumer education also equips and empowers consumers in knowing where to go for assistance when they face problems relating to credit matters.
Public Relations Manager for the Credit Ombud, Neo Loeto, is responsible for consumer education, which takes the form of workshops, as well as informative radio, TV and print articles for consumers. Expos and exhibitions are also hosted to reach out to the community.
This year, 29 workshops have been conducted. The strategy has been to target employers as well, instead of members of the community alone. This strategy will have a greater effect in the long-term, as most of the consumers who have access to credit, and are experiencing credit-related problems, are being addressed directly during these sessions.
Part of the consumer education strategy is to look into expanding workshops to our members’ employees as well. Plans in this regard are still underway, and will be communicated in due course.
As far as publicity efforts are concerned, a total media advertising value of R15.7 million has been achieved year-to-date. This year has seen the office of the Credit Ombud having a greater presence in the media, especially in TV and radio. These mediums by far remain the most effective ways of getting the message across to large numbers of consumers.
Neo Loeto, Public Relations Manager