Traditionally, Kenyans were warned about committing offenses with the threat that ‘the long arm of the government’ would eventually catch up with them.
Given the widely known bureaucracy within our government, however, this statement no longer scares anyone. This is because offenders know that amidst the tedious processes of registering the offense, following up with the police and attending court hearings, their accuser is bound to get tired and decide that the justice sought is not worth all the trouble.
With social media, the process of solving civil disputes especially those involving debts and poor customer service has been reduced to a one post affair thanks to the Facebook group Buyer Beware- Kenya whose sole purpose is to expose unscrupulous business practices and solicit payments on behalf of frustrated buyers or sellers as well as bring to light poor customer service.
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This works in two ways: The person on the offensive can expose their offender’s business details such as the business name, their social media pages and line of business, thus discrediting them to the over 70, 000 members of the group. Mainstream media also comes in and picks up the story, making it a country wide topic of discussion. Alternatively, one can post their offender’s contact details and ask fellow members to spam their inbox and call line demanding they clear outstanding debts or make an apology for poor customer service.
Government agencies, private corporates, Long distance travel companies, restaurants and rude employees have often found themselves between a rock and a hard place after being exposed on the group especially if their case goes viral.
Read also: Laid bare by social media
The most recent case is that of Bata Toughee school shoes, where many customers complained of extremely poor quality, leading to the launch of a probe into the matter by the Competition Authority of Kenya.
The Buyer Beware-Kenya wrath is a double edged sword: If it is ascertained that you made a false accusation or the members decide that your issue is a petty one, you will be the one on the receiving end!
Next time you think of defaulting on a payment or treating customers poorly, remember you might end up receiving mob justice from the virtual mob.
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