South Carolina was the first state to have a comprehensive online complaint system.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) handles several thousand consumer complaints annually. Previously, each paper complaint resulted in a postcard sent back to the complainant, a considerable volume of fax and phone correspondence, and the complaint life cycle averaged between 45 and 55 days. The process was entirely manual, 100% paper-based and slow. SCDCA needed a way to efficiently streamline the complaint and response process and consumers wanted more transparency in the complaint process.
Through a partnership with SC.gov, SCDCA was able to create an Online Consumer Complaint Filing System that offers quick and easy submission, tracking, and searching from desktop, laptop or mobile device. After creating an account, consumers can submit, and businesses can respond to complaints electronically.
The Consumer Complaint System also functions as a public information tool, allowing consumers, media and other interested parties to search complaints on businesses of interest which has helped to reduce the number of customer service calls, 30,000 in 2013, made to the agency.
Additional benefits include:
- 60 percent of consumer complaints are now submitted through the online system
- Online submissions are resolved 50 percent faster
- Significant reduction in agency copier, office supply, and postage expenses that will be realized ongoing
- Eliminate storage costs and cabinets full of paper complaints in 2017, after the exhaustion of the agency's record retention period for paper complaints
- Cost avoidance of $404,000 for initial application development through the SC.gov partnership and SC.gov's self-funded business model
"This cutting-edge Complaint System is just another example of the agency’s efforts in leveraging resources to increase efficiency and productivity," said Carri Grube Lybarker, SCDCA Administrator. In October 2014, the SCDCA Online Consumer Complaint Filing System was awarded a Digital Government Achievement Award in the Government-to-Citizen, State Government category.