EcoCash Blocked Complaining Customer On Their Social Media; Not A Great Idea

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar
EcoCash billboard

Over the weekend, EcoCash blocked a customer requesting support on their Twitter platform after a request to reverse a transaction went south.

What happened?

Maynard Manyowa, a journalist working for Khuluma Africa and a correspondent for the Daily Maverick in SA, tried to purchase electricity from Powertel for $85. The transaction failed and when he reached out to EcoCash to perform a reversal that’s when the problems began.

Other means?

Customer support informed an incensed Maynard that he would have to use other means to get the service he had just paid for whilst waiting for a refund which would take 72 hours. I don’t really understand why the support guys would urge someone to use ‘other means’ before they refund him. The money he had set aside is with you, so why would you urge him to use other means?

This response predictably incensed Maynard further and led to a Twitter rant where he called out EcoCash for their tendencies in a very aggressive tone which eventually led to EcoCash support blocking him.

We reached out to Econet to get a better understanding of the situation and to establish why he was blocked before his issue was resolved.

Why was Maynard blocked?

EcoCash gave this reason for blocking Maynard:

The customer was blocked to protect other users because he was using extremely abusive language (He was later unblocked after he had calmed down).

Is the issue resolved?

Econet went on to state that the issue had since been resolved and they had reached out to Maynard. Whether that means he has been refunded or not is another thing…

Maynard’s approach

As mentioned above, Maynard’s approach was very hostile and though this may be attributed to his frustration over the handling of the issue by EcoCash, it may not have been the best approach. Some on Twitter even urged him to approach the issue more respectfully. Personally, I think there are two sides to this situation

For Maynard, he had every right to be incensed because issues relating to money are very touchy. At the same time, I do think in any situation where you want to get assistance from anyone insulting support agents and calling them witches and imbeciles may not necessarily help your cause. At the end of the day, we have to understand that support agents are human beings so your approach could affect the way they handle situations.

Be cautious of what you say online…

The use of abusive language is also a slippery slope that could have gotten Maynard in trouble as the use of such language through telecommunications can result in a penalty. This is stipulated in the telecommunications act and though it is never policed it is something to keep in mind when you make complaints. This means that if you are found on the wrong side of the law you can actually be fined or jailed.

On the other hand…

EcoCash still made a huge mistake by blocking him.

As a support agent, you have one job. To support customers and address their issues. Not to block a user. Yes they may say his language was abusive and they wanted to protect users but at the end of the day the tweets were directed at Twitter and if they felt these tweets were abusive they could have just used the reporting function on Twitter and flag his content as inappropriate.

Blocking him becomes a bigger issue, especially before you have resolved the issue at hand. Doing this makes it seem as if you have no care for a particular customer or you are trying to pocket his precious money and from the responses given by EcoCash it’s clear those were not their intentions.

As stated above support agents are human beings but they are also trained to deal with unhappy customers. They should have better defused the situation rather than to block a user which actually infused the situation.

Hopefully, Techzim’s Twitter page is not blocked because we wrote about this. On a more serious note, this could serve as a lesson to EcoCash and other Telcos on how NOT to solve a dispute and we sincerely hope Maynard got his money back.


  1. Amina

    Why on earth could he use abusive language like that-Econet doesnt want such strong language -this is why i was once blocked and i apologized . Its not good even here in Zimbabwe u can be arrested for that. I encourage customers like me to go to their DM and shout than to post things on their timeline like u r an uneducated folk.

  2. Denver

    LOL. There needs to be a line drawn between customer care and acceptable language in business communication. Use fowl language while speaking to most support lines (even in the UK & US from personal experience) and they will hang up on you. They tell you that your language is not acceptable and they are ending the call.

    1. learn english

      fowl or foul ? one is a chicken, the other isnt !!

      1. Grammar Police Idiot

        “Is it fowl or foul? One is a chicken, the other isn’t!”

        You know what he meant, your brain’s power of inference doesn’t even include thoughts. Mistakes happen.

        1. Sagitarr

          …and humility is the art of learning to say “My mistake, thanks” and move on….

  3. Osmond

    this was very unprofessional of him and therefore he deserved it. Such malfunctions happen and he should have waited not act like an imbecile.

  4. Like Zim

    Blocking customers and even termination of their service is not wrong or illegal. If the Business see’s that they have failed to satisfy to the customers needs and wants a business can end the relationship. However it will depend with the magnitude of the case. These cases happen all the time.

    Please not that there are even social media tools that can block certain fuming clients so as to mitigate a big reaction from social media. this is done uye tinotozviita muno MuZim.

  5. Tawa

    kkkk But thier ecocash helpline seems to be disconnected all times. As much as they reverse not everyone is getting the good service at the right time. Sometimes it just says transaction failed but still goes on to deduct the balance and you cant do another transcation irrespective of the second part not recieving funds, you have no one to consult fast enough. This assumption by ecocash that people will be having excess cash on them is crazy.

  6. Like Zim

    Blocking customers and even termination of their service is not wrong or illegal. If the Business see’s that they have failed to satisfy to the customers needs and wants a business can end the relationship. However it will depend with the magnitude of the case. These cases happen all the time.

    Please not that there are even social media tools that can block certain fuming clients so as to mitigate a big reaction from social media. this is done uye tinotozviita muno MuZim.

  7. Anonymous

    We might all have our rights as consumers and freedom of speech and all bla bla bla but I have no respect for people who use fowl language. No one or any institution deserves that especially when you have been assured of help as with the case. I had no idea Econet agents go through all that, dear God we have such people in Zim. Let’s learn to engage in a civil manner and remind ourselves we are dealing with human beings. We then remind others using social media like us the basics of humanity.

    1. NotHappyWithEconetCustomerService

      I was in the same shoes as he was. i was promised that the reversal will take 7days and in actual fact it took 21days. I understand his frustration. maybe its not the first time he has been in that situation. Econet also has to understand our frustrations as customers coz its not fair.

  8. Sagitarr

    Customer Service always makes sense when they offer a service which resolves the problem rather than aggravates it. If someone “pays” for a service (money is deducted from their account) but the corresponding service is not availed, this is no laughing matter. More so, when someone asks you to find an alternative way of paying….huh? What if that was the last amount in my account?
    Whilst I do not encourage or condone foul language, when a customer is irate don’t inflame the situation by giving silly, poorly thought-out “excuses” or “alternatives”, don’t even try “to be clever”. Apologize and indicate company policy, period.

    1. happy to read this

      i agree with you 100%, and appreciate we are educated to the same level where we can spell FOUL correctly, bless you !!

  9. Anonymous

    Even though he was frustrated, I still don’t think that gave him the right to insult the agent. Insulting the person who is trying to assist you is not the best resolve. The very fact that he immediately rushed to a media house to have his ‘story’ published is also reflective of his true intentions.

  10. TheKing

    Both parties were wrong:
    1. Econet employee told customer to find an alternative payment method as if the customer can just pick up money off the ground at anytime. That was wrong and insensitive considering the customer had been wronged and it was taking too long to get a reversal. Econet should apologize for this.
    2. The customer was wrong for using abusive language and should apologize to the customer service rep.

    Final word:
    1. Econet has to resolve such issues quickly considering the volume of Ecocash payments
    2. Econet customer service reps have to be trained on sensitivity of what they say to clients
    3. Econet customer service reps have to stop lying on behalf of the company

  11. Observer too

    If I had been in charge of the Econet platform, I would have kept him blocked permanently. No amount of poor service justifies abusive language to a fellow human being or any creature. It was the Econet system that failed him, not the staff.

    1. Sagitarr

      I don’t condone foul language etc but pardon me, the Econet system consists of hardware, software and HUMANS, yes. The staff are also part of the “system” whether it is working or down. Computers are completely useless without the thinking humans that manipulate them!
      Computers serve humans not vice versa.

  12. ziso

    Varikuti he was wrong havasati vaziva.Kana mukazviitirwa ndipo pamuchaziva kuti kunyarara hakubhadhare.

    1. TheKing

      Taura hako, especially kuudza munhu kuti “Find alternative payment methods” ivo vadya mari yake

      1. PaFeya

        Thats so true. If you want the quickest turn around time for a reversal, complain on their twitter(not DM) and they act faster. I once had a similar encounter with them, then I sent them a complaint and #Strive Masiyiwa. It was resolved in less than an hour, not the 72hour nonsense that they talk about.

  13. Felix

    unfortunately their refund service is very poor and it puts their agents at risk of abusive language from frustrated customers…at one point they could not reverse a $4 transaction until one of their agents offered to refund me from her pocket which is very sad… Ecocash needs to improve on this…. however I disagree with the use of abusive language from the customer mentioned above

  14. NdiniNdadaro

    I personally know this guy! He is an uncouth foul mouthed fella, facebook bully and attention seeker. Too bad your rants didint earn u any sympathy

  15. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    I’m sure if your readers here started commenting using abusive language, you’d change some of your opinions. Some customer care personnel can give you ludicrous responses, but it doesn’t justify insults. Whether you are right, or wrong, I can guarantee you insulting someone doesn’t do you any favours. It’s not in anyones job description to be insulted, despite the fact that the person being insulted played no role in the transaction.

    1. TheKing

      The Econet agent also insulted this guy by telling him to “find alternative payment methods while the issue was being resolved”. Secondly, Econet insulted this guy by giving him a false resolution date for the query. Not justifying what the guy did, but Econet agents need training on sensitivity. Maybe it’s the long hours they work that causes this. Econet also has to come up with a long term fix to these Ecocash problems.

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        You have no idea what an insult is. Anyway, the customer care agent cannot effect any reversal before the technical department resolves the issue. So, instead of lying and saying check back in 10 minutes, or some other time wasting trick, they told him the truth. If he needs a Zesa token NOW, he must find another means of doing it. What other options were there?

        1. bootlicker

          You work for Econet or you’re one of its worshippers.

        2. Sagitarr

          It might not be a classical “insult” but has the same effect of being offensive. I still don’t condone foul language. Asking for a client to use an alternative works in an environment where a transaction has failed BUT money has NOT been deducted not in this unfortunate

  16. Madzibaba

    muchimboitirei zve EcoSex? someone will not climax mari isati yapinda

  17. Sagitarr

    EW Customer Service (like for most companies in Zimbabwe) is very bad. One has to deal in some extreme cases with youthful, playful staff that seem to value Whatsapp etc more than their actual job (which allows them to buy the airtime for Whatsapp etc).
    I think most people have, and use, phones but have no requisite telephone manners (etiquette). Examples are plenty…ranging from some insisting …[daira phone] to those that start off rattling at the speed of a bullet train without confirming if they’re talking to the right person or they’ve dialed the correct number — right through to those who hurl dirty expletives simply because you dialed a wrong number.. We can’t of course, ignore those who shout into their phones as if there is no mike or amplifier in it or those who keep saying “hello” or “watii” endlessly. Long ago, a telephone call was regarded as private, now the emphasis seems to be heard by as large an “audience” as possible, in the process annoying many.
    I marvel at those who phone you and when you answer they ask “who is that?” – I cut those off immediately. When you make a phone call – introduce yourself first instead of interviewing the callee.

  18. The Dutchman

    I have been reading all your comments here guys, the truth is ECOCASH CUSTOMER CARE WAS WRONG. Why? When did the customer use foul language? Before or After he was told something? It is not a joke in this economy to be told to look for alternatives somewhere whilst you refusing to give back my money. Give me my refund and i will look somewhere else. Ecocash knew that they were dealing with an angry disgruntled customer ari kurwadziwa they should have circumcised their mouths first. To all those who are saying the customer was wrong, i will say in business the customer is ALWAYS RIGHT NO MATTER WHAT.

  19. batman

    from a consultant point of view the customer was and has a right to be frustrated especially when the customer does not received a service paid for. Econet agent should have taken it off line , call the customer ,explain and give timelines instead of taking time responding via that platform the personal touch could have assured the customer that the company had his interest at heart. customers do appreciate human contact via voice more than any other platform ,however there is no justification for insulting the agent that was wrong . In this age of multi channel support you have to know which channel is best for each circumstance