'Case against Cell C to serve as warning to big businesses'

Attorney Raymond Druker says companies owe it to their customers to deliver good service.

FILE: The banner erected by a disgruntled Cell C customer outside the World Wear shopping centre on Beyers Naude Drive in Fairlands. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers representing an angry customer who put up a banner slamming Cell C, says a decision by the High Court in Johannesburg to have an urgent application by the service provider dismissed, will serve as a warning to other companies in dealing with their customers.

George Prokas put up the banner on Beyers Naude Drive last week after he received bad service from the Sandton City branch.

On Thursday, the court found that the Johannesburg businessman did not act unlawfully and that although the banner was his opinion, it was fair.

Judge Sharise Weiner told the court Prokas gave sufficient facts and his views were honest and therefore, Cell C failed to convince the court why the application had to be urgent.

Prokas's attorney, Raymond Druker, says companies owe it to their customers to deliver good service.

"The level of service which you extend to those people must be commensurate with your size."

Druker says the action by his client was a warning to big businesses to stop taking their customers for granted.

"They must tread carefully, they can't bully people anymore."

The company has criticised Judge Weiner's handling of the case, saying the judgment contains fundamental errors that have wide-reaching implications.

Prokas says many people have been bullied by businesses with some not having the chance to voice their frustrations.

The banner has since been defaced and changed by an unknown person, but Cell C says its image has already suffered damage.

The banner had cost Prokas over R60,000.

Prokas has indicated he plans to re-erect a new billboard, but it's unclear when this will happen.

It's understood Prokas took his phone in for repairs at the branch last year, but the phone was returned to him still broken.

The service provider continued to bill him despite him not using the phone and also after he cancelled a debit order.

Prokas's lawyers say he complained about this several times with no success and erecting the banner was merely taking the company to task for bad service.