ZOL vs David Coltart on Facebook… or, how not to handle a customer complaint on social media

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POST UPDATED: With Response from ZOL CEO

On Friday 23 June, apparently after seeing a ZOL advert in the Zimbabwe Independent, outspoken local politician David Coltart complained on Facebook:

ZOL #FibroniksFast really need to be called out on their misleading advertising in the Zimbabwe Independent today . They promise that getting linked is “as easy as ABC” and that “installation takes between 3 and 5 days and the clock starts ticking from the moment you make payment.”

My experience is completely different. I paid ZOL $154 on the 26th October 2016 and entered into a contract with them (ZOL – 100051). Almost 8 months down the road and there is still no sign of installation. Despite repeated e mails complaining I remain in the dark.

This is appalling service from what purports to be a first rate business. Their advertisement bears no relation to the reality of the disservice I have received.

Pull up your socks ZOL.

Two days later, in an apparent case of “How not to handle a customer complaint on social media 101”, someone at ZOL responded to Coltart:


Mr Coltart, your recent post accusing ZOL of misleading advertising regarding our installation time frames is unfortunately incorrect and disingenuous on your part.

You are fully aware that your installation has been stalled due to delays in issuance of way leaves by City of Bulawayo. There are policy issues that need to be resolved in order to secure permissions to trench the road so we can lay our fibre and get your house and many others connected.

In your post you act ignorant of this fact yet you, at one point, offered to engage City of Bulawayo on our behalf with regard to the way leave issue and we declined your offer to mediate because it would not have been in line with proper procedure.

We were of the understanding that you fully appreciated the uniqueness of your circumstance, however we will proceed and issue you a refund (which you know we have been most willing to do) until we obtain the necessary permissions to connect you – should you still be so inclined.

Let’s strive to be honest and genuine in our digital statements. With the necessary City Council permissions we guarantee connections within the stated time frames and we do it with pride.

Meanwhile, we sincerely wish you the best in securing an alternative solution as we continue to negotiate for service in your area.


Later in the post’s comments, the company’s chairman David Behr, apologised and promised to get to the bottom of the issue:

I can assure you this is not our usual standard of service and not a response I can condone as Chairman of ZOL. Please allow me time to investigate this. I’d appreciate a couple of days to do so and respectfully request everyone’s patience on social media whilst I do so. Rest assured appropriate action will be taken and I’ll feedback here. We have many hardworking and dedicated team members who strive to delight customers with our service everyday. Sometimes things do go wrong and we will accept responsibility, apologise and do our best to correct it.


UPDATE: Response from ZOL CEO, Denny Marandure




  1. nxa

    instead of apologising and assuring to expedite service deliver ZOL insults a customer in the open and goes on to blame the Bulawayo City council on social media, well guess BCC will as well be now even slower at issuing ZOL any permits to trench fibre. Everyone knows how slow ZOL is at connecting a customer even if a manhole is next to your door stop.

  2. kilotango

    im surprised the local CEO hasnt taken charge of this matter, and was left to the Chairman. weird…?

    1. Langton

      Who knows, maybe the CEO is the one who replied to the customer!

      1. kilotango

        hahaha!! yes that could be true!

      2. Levi

        Apparently there is actually some truth to that. These mischevious Hararians always brewing up rumours and shit!

  3. Langton

    They are both wrong. Surely the customer knew what was going on and was dishonest and met his match at ZOL who ignored one of the DON’TS in Customer care fratenity and highlighted that, there is only one loser here unfortunately

    1. tinm@n

      Customer is always right!

      Not in the literal sense, but in terms of image management, improved perceptions and brand projection. It’s just a major don’t in managing customer relationships to insult them as they did… especially in a proper economy.

      In Zimbabwe, because companies like ZOL enjoy being monopolies, they basically can sh*t on their customers and won’t give a damn about brand damage, image, perception management and any consumer-oriented metrics. There are few companies that do what ZOL does, consumers have few options and have also “forgotten” their power.

      But, they will certainly get their rude awakening when the economy becomes normal. Relationships run as though it’s some dont-give-a-damn-mseyamwa tuckshop will lose clients.

      Even if we’re not that consumer-friendly-oriented or a good economy, social media will definitely expose and shame you.

      For ZOL, it is most likely some idiot who felt they were kissing ZOL management ass by being rude to the customer…or worse, it was and worse idiot in management….!

      For that, they will suffer, as people rarely forget such things.

    2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      The customer is not always 100% sure what is going on, because sometimes companies have an official reason/excuse they give to you, and the real internal reason they keep to themselves. It happens quite often with banks and cellular service providers. Each time you follow up your query, a different reason is given for the delays in resolving it.

      In any case, why take a person’s money when you know fully well you don’t have the requisite permits to deliver the services paid for. It’s greed!! Taking money just for the sake of pinning a customer down.

    3. Hacha Ndizvo

      You are very wrong. Coltart has irrefutable evidence that ZOL’s advert promising to install in 5 days is false. The excuse that the council has not given them the permission is a fact that they should have considered before fighting the advert. It is dishonest to promise something that you have no capacity to deliver. If it takes the council 8 months to give a permit you should tell the customer it takes 8 months rather than lying that it takes 5 days. They have been battling with the Coltart case for 8 months and they have the temerity to flight an advert now that is full of lies.

  4. Senzeni

    ZOL needs to fire whoever is handling customer complaints on social media. This is appaling at the highest level.
    However, knowing ZOL, the culprit will probably get a promotion for this.

  5. Rouble Rouser

    Serve for the expletives tinm@N got it right. He should be appointed ZOL CEO.

    1. tinm@n

      Not to worry, I only serve to say what you cannot say….
      …. particularly when lacking in more expressive terms to refer to what people deal with regularly with just about every company and purported business person.

      Glad we agree

  6. Ndini

    Lol. Who ever responded should be fired. You don’t argue with a client moreso on social platforms

  7. Charles Muzonzini

    Add to that their deceitful shaping policy. ZOL should be Zimbabwe On Lies

    1. Itai

      I got off the uncapped lies.. on the capped and am saving $ a lot.. my usage is not half as what was alleged coz they say we were abusing the internet..

  8. Sagitarr

    Customer Care is zero in this company (I’m surprised that it’s part of EW somehow). This could be one of the wannabes promoted on paper qualifications and zero CC experience who spite those who pay their salaries. There are many like him out there. When circumstances change they will rue this incident.
    To add salt to injury the chairman wants “a few days” to investigate and resolve such a simple issue. With all the technology they boast about how bad is their record-keeping and file retrieval system? This is shameful. Are’nt these the guys who advertise about a cheetah driving a Ferrari? Tortoises!

    1. tinm@n

      What the Chairman did was excellent. He is customer-centric at heart and adheres to sound principles of corporate governance.

      As for the time it takes to respond to a situation, it is very reasonable!

      1) He is the chairman. He is the head of the board. Not an operational position. He is not the CEO or whatever they call the thing that allowed this to happen…the thing that was supposed to respond. He will apply pressure on the CEO as his position dictates. Corporate Governance 101.

      2) The CEO needs to investigate, even if I refer to him as a thing, there is due process in getting to the root of the problem. Due to its elevated status, he/she will not want to fail again. He will take operational control of the situation, pull out his whip and make sure that it is fixed and fixed well!! It may be technical in nature, maybe comms infrastructure is missing,damaged or no electricity at whatever-base-station-thingie… technicians will have to sort that out, with follow-up and so on… Then he will report back to the board (led by the Chairman, who also has his golden whip with blades)…

      As for Econet Wireless, they are the best at throwing sh*t at customers, or simply ignoring them.

      Can’t believe someone actually believes Econet has some reputation to keep.

      Maybe if you said they are less crappy (sorry for the persistent reference, but that’s how much we’ve dealt with with Econet and many providers)

      1. john

        The same thing is happening at Liquid, they take months to connect, reason – way leaves.

  9. MeMyself&I

    My take away from this is that if Mr Coltart, a public figure, can be treated with such disdain and disgust, what about the rest of us “ordinary citizens” who don’t pull that much weight? ZOL will tell us to go to hell and spit in our faces!! We all know customer service in Zimbabwe is non-existent but that was a new low.

    1. Hacha Ndizvo

      They told him to come take his money – I would have excused everything else but that.

  10. Analyst

    Nothing new here. ZOL has been like this for ages. I remember one time a reported some intermittent connection problems i used to have with my connection during my time as a ZOL customer. The issue dragged on and one of their engineers told me point blank that he had more than 10 years of experience and i should not tell him how to do his work. I escalated the issue to the ZOL CEO and almost got my teeth knocked out by the same engineer for that. I secured an alternative provider soon after and have been enjoying consistent, stress free browsing coupled with great customer service.

    1. Zico

      Which alternative provider is this. Would love to try it out.

  11. BASIL

    kkkkkk mapawerengawo here …hanzi we do it with “PRIDE” KWEKUPEDZISIRA KWACHO CUSTOMER YACHO YABVA YANZI “FIND ALTERNATIVE” KKKKKK Ndookunzi tsvaga wamwe kauku siyana nesu kkkkkk ZOL..Let’s strive to be honest and genuine in our digital statements. With the necessary City Council permissions we guarantee connections within the stated time frames and we do it with pride.

    Meanwhile, we sincerely wish you the best in securing an alternative solution as we continue to negotiate for service in your area.

  12. T.J

    telone is slow but they give you what you pay for

  13. Not A Celeb

    the worst mistake is to attack a popular public figure on the social media.I know as Zimbabweans we dont really care about attacking or disrespecting public figures(Soul Jah Love vs Hamandishe in Mutare) we treat them like nonentities.This ill treatment ends up costing the perpetrator.Too bad if its a company you will lose all the people who love and respect Coltart.

  14. Micho Mbazo

    Lots of lessons on customer care and on how to respond to customer complaints! Emotional manipulation does not work, it destroys your brand long term!

  15. V Muchena

    Such denial, insensitivity , hubris, deception, and dismissive response resembles the hausi chinhu treatment and culture which Zimbabweans get on a daily basis from the arms of state and now from Econet. Coltart is however is no ordinary citizen hence getting an apology after a Soljah love dressing down .

  16. The Zimbabwean

    The Rhodesian should not get any refund, until his tribe returns all national wealth they robbed. The first response he got was perfect, revealing his deception by ommision of mitigating facts known to him.

    1. Rodney Ndlovu

      You Sir are in need of serious help…A stupid coward and internet troll who hides behind an alias….it’s people like you that have tainted this country…nxxx

    2. Sagitarr

      Are you sure your tribe will use the money to your benefit? You’re displaying prejudice and naivety. These are ingredients of supreme disappointment!

  17. hellooo

    coltart was offside!!!!!!
    at least he shld have mentioned the basic facts of the matter. maybe he wanted to use his influence to paint a bad picture of ZOL. to me, the first response by ZOL was very fine. it explained everything without belittling the customer!!!!