Customer care in Brazil

Hello everyone,

The way customer services are handled can greatly affect your views on certain brands, products, companies or stores. As a consumer, it is important to get familiar with local practices regarding client assistance in Brazil and try to understand how things work in the country.

How would you describe your customer service experiences in Brazil?

Do you feel welcome when you enter a store? Do you get useful tips and advice?

Are after-sales services available in Brazil?

Thanks for sharing your experience,


Simply put - there is no customer service in Brazil. If your food is cold, they may re-heat it (don't expect anything like a refund) - if your internet stops working, don't expect them to pull out the stops to fix it. A complaint or customer service problem is probably a bit like what is was in the UK in the 60/70s - before the Americans brought it over.

There are 2 situations where Brazil has good CS, when it's beer arriving and freezing (when the waiter opens it) they will give you another, and when you go into a shop that works on commission, they will be helpful if they think you will buy something.

Customer service in Brazil? Next topic, please!

This is a culture with a total lack of concern for customers whether one is dealing with a commercial establishment, governmental body, medical field, etc.

The comment that "service" would be better when dealing with some one working on commission is the same all over the world, including Brazil, but don't expect too much there.

When it requires more than one person to sell you something . Too much customer care . That adds to the cost of doing business.  Too many documents required for almost everything.

In Salvador, I had a Dell laptop that was giving  up it's life 2 days before the 2 year warranty expired. I even bought it online and refurbished in California.
I contacted Dell in Sâo Paulo who actually SENT a technician to our was amazing. He threw every part he could think of at it until it worked again. It became all new on the inside by the third visit! Now that's what I call customer service.
The shopping mall stores in Bahia are always an amazement to me as we get more help than wanted. Typically they pounce on you up front then watch you while you shop, hoping to edge out their co-workers. My guess is there is a commision attached to sales. Government services? Ugly. Medical or dental services? Excellent, but waiting is part of life in Brazil.

I really never had a problem in most places with getting help in finding something or advice as to what item I should buy for the purpose I need.  The problem comes after the purchase or when calling for service at the house.  I have lived in Sao Paulo and currently  in Praia de Pipa and do shop the Natal markets.  Getting someone reliable is the problem.  Most service businesses like Jacuzzi installation or appliance repair use 3rd party private contractors.  These people may or may not show up at the appointed time and date.  More times than I care to count we ended up in disappointment simply because the repairman failed to show up!  Generally when this happens we start over and look for someone else.  We can call the company and the best excuses is that "the repairman is usually pretty reliable and you must take your concern up with him."  Stores are  quick to disavow any ownership and put the blame squarely on the person they hire to do the service.  I could go on and on about internet, internet installation, house repairs and so on and so on.....but I think you get the message.  Brazil's business (for the most part) do not understand customer service and it's always been terrible so they see no purpose in changing.

Well, everyone is gonna have different stories with this topic. I have various stories and I think it is entity-dependent. For example, I took a contract with Vivo for my internet and cable and it was the most trying experience I've had in Brazil. Various cycles of going to their office and complaining, them sending me grossly uncoordinated technicians who waste everybody's time and at the end of the day, the company sending me bills for services I never enjoyed. I packed it up with a threat to sue them.
I changed to NET and the story has been completely different. Everytime I have called them for any thing, I end the call happily because the atendimento is excellent. Their services are a bit more expensive but I really don't mind because it comes without headache. Then, TIM......the company is very fraudulent. They keep charging me for things I never suscribed for and when you call them, it's like war. Some online shops are good to the point of you paying. Should you have problem with the product though, you are in for it.
For me, I think one brush can't paint it all. It comes down to luck because where I enjoyed services, I've heard some people complain bitterly about the same organization. SANTANDER stole my 500Reais and I'm still on their tail.
Generally however, I would rate customer service in Brazil SUB-PAR, except when you physically deal with tiny entities like Restaurants where the staff go out of their way to be nice and respectful. My bit of experience here.

TIM calls me like 5 times a week to sell me stuff - they are just dumb. It's one of those where it calls you, and rings their end when you answer. I've told them to stop, but they just keep ringing, day after day after day.

Bad day for me to reply to this since after taking our money (and having the post box and address spelled out several times), confirming our order of a trampoline for our son's birthday, Lojas Americanas has decided that it can't deliver because it's to a post box (we live in a rural location). I am fairly sure that the words Caixa Postal mean post box throughout Brazil and I would have assumed LA staff would be aware of this. The attitude is that shrug your shoulders/not my problem thing that I can't stand - that's not just Brazil though, I think some people just shouldn't work in retail.

On a more general basis, I can't stand the stalking in shops: so many times I've had to say 'I'm just looking, I'll call you if I need you'. I can't shop when some randomer is hovering over my shoulder asking me inane questions. Drives. Me. Nuts! But that's a cultural thing, I know my husband would say when he lived in America/Europe, he missed having the shop assistant being stuck to him like glue!

Customer service does exist here though, that said, I love that many business owners will bend over backwards to fix a problem or provide something they don't usually do. It's the little things like making a coffee without sugar in the petrol station for me that I really appreciate.

Same here with the stalking. I laid down a handful of merchandise because the employee would not leave me alone.

Really enjoying the thread! Helps me know I'm not alone.

I think currently Brazil is facing a critical and biggest recession period of his history. I believe it’s happening only because of proudly and unwelcoming attitude of the Brazilian people.

Their main weak point is that; from several years Brazilian are avoiding English language and hiding their self to accept English as a world’s main and most friendly language, which is badly affecting their economy and normal life.

I believe Brazil is already world’s a dynamic and charming country. I wish if Brazilian government make English language compulsory for all government and non- government organizations in all parts of Brazil, even initially they deploy only 1 person in each office, who can perfectly speck and understand English. Then I am sure no one can stop Brazil to be a World’s leading successful and dream country for everyone for business and living.

Berri Rouge,
I find your contribution very interesting. However, I am having difficulty comprehending your main point. Is English Language compulsory in Russia, France, Spain and other notable developed countries? How will speaking English drastically uplift the economy and improve the customer service...which is the topic of this thread? Kindly expatiate. Thanks.

You have a very good point!!!!

Do you know why the Portuguese language was every invented or put to use?

Do you know why the Brazilians stick to using Portuguese in their lower schools and high schools and then the people who want to get out in the international world have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to learn English?

It looks to me like it is the government's plan to keep people unprepared to work in an international market and for them never to gain a good wage.

How many people in Russia speak Portuguese?

How many people in India speak Portuguese?

How many people in China speak Portuguese

Have good day!!!!
John from Macae

If a person learns to speak English then they can work with an international company and get a much better paying job.  This is especially true.  If A Brazilian can learn to speak English then they can get the hell of the poverty in Brasil and go find a job outside that will pay a higher wage.

With Brazilians stuck with only Portuguese, they are stuck with with poverty for millions of them.  The opportunities are very limited.

Many of the rich learn to speak English and then go to a good university in the USA, England, etc.  As such, the richer get richer and the poor get poorer, year after year.

the "proper" education is the key for most people to get out of poverty.

Best wishes,
John from Macae

I very big reason for lack of linguistic development in Brazil is that the favored few, those with families which are well placed, do not have to work hard in school, because their daddies can get them jobs in government after school is finished.

At the same time, the poor are ignored when it comes to education - either no schools for them or poor schools.

Additionally, my wife is Brazilian (I am American). We live in Chicago. She is Black but comes from a family which cared about education and took advantage of what was available. She was helped to get into college by a Catholic priest about 50 years ago and she graduated. She worked as a teacher and had some government jobs, but she couldn't get paid well due to her race (back then it was a real issue). So she came to America to work at baby-sitting and house cleaning and made more money doing that than she could as a teacher in Brazil.

Now, for the past 17 years, after becoming a US citizen, she has been a case worker for the State of Illinois and is doing very well financially. She also learned English here. She did not learn any in Brazil.

In Brazil she has a mixed-ace nephew who went to college and spent some time with us in Chicago taking an intensive English course and the returned to Brazil. Today he has a very, very good job with an international insurance company whose Head Office is in Switzerland.

Learning English does open doors.

I worked as a CSR for 3 years and it's sad to say Brazil reps are crappy, I can remember an issue that I had with Tim rep for removing my  credits for services I didn't consumed, I debated her and she was so Damn rude. I asked to talk with her supervisor and she clearly told me she won't transfer me and hung up. Even at the stores they make ugly faces as if they're begin forced to eat shit! I hate this so much about Brazil, people are nice to you when you open your mouth and say something in English, they go crazy for English, but it's sad, no good service and we're forced to use their crappy service since there's no other options.

NOTED:   Learning English does open doors.

When I was hiring in Macae, if you did NOT speak read and written English, i just threw your resume in the trash.   It was a waste of time.

The emails come from the US in English.  I do NOT have time to translate them or to have an error due to poor communication.

What a gross waste of the Brazilians who go to school wasting their time learning to read and write Portuguese.   Just a simple fact of life.  It is like going to car race with flat tires.   You will lose every time.

Have a nice day,
John from Macae

The reason for poor service in Brazil is mostly due to the problem that the employees, especially governmental workers, do not know their jobs. So they are trained to just say "no" when someone requests something. Saying "no" insulates the employee from making an error.

Chalk it up to lack of professionalism, laziness, lack of caring, etc. It's part of the culture.

What's a funny remark about how english would improve things in Brazil...this is really from an expaxt ego-centric who is lost in this country because almost noone speak english. Seriously, education needs to improve firstly in teaching to speak, read and write proper portuguese. And I don't want to start a discussion about poverty.
From my experience, actually customer service varies from the worst to the best.  Public agencies or private companiess alike. I have been recently to DETRAN to translate my driving licence and services was top notch: people efficient and helpfull.  I think the patern is that most recents business seems to have better services.
However when companies have monopoly like utilities and telco (let´say TIM, OI), their customer is bad. But isn't it the same in all countries? I even heard from France that cable companies in US where just horrible.

True! Cable companies in the U.S. are very bad. It's all about making money, not about customer service, but please, don't compare the US to Brazil. Overall, service in the US is much, much better than in Brazil. I will admit, however, that customer service in the US is not nearly as good as it used to be.

Well lucky you. I've never came across a good Customer Service in brasil. The people are just ignorant,(not all ) i don't blame them since the education system is a crap.

Thanks for your opinion.  It is most interesting!!!

NOTED:  "What's a funny remark about how english would improve things in Brazil...this is really from an expaxt ego-centric who is lost in this country because almost noone speak english."

I have had literally thousands of Brazilian friends/neighbors, etc. send me their resume asking my help to find a job.  In the past, I have helped many.   I did not waste my time unless they sent me their resume in BOTH English and Portuguese!!!!!  I wanted the friends, people, etc. to get a good job, not just cutting grass or picking up the trash along the road.   I wanted the person to push themself to succeed, not just to barely get by with a Brazilian minimum salary.  I wanted the person to think about ob opportunities not only in Brasil but in the rest of the world. 

Just my experience based on fourteen years of living in Brasil.

When I walk out to the centro, the supermercardo, etc., time after time people say hello to me not just by my first name but my last name as these people know I like helping people to succeed.  If I am "ego centric" in helping my Brazilian friends and neighbors, then so be it.

This meeting of people was not only in Macae, but Rio das Ostras and even RIo de Janeiro.

I love Brasil, but it breaks my heart to see all of the poverty year after year!!!!!

Have a nice day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John from Macae

Well , people educated love to speak english or even french (older ones) and is most developped area of Brazil english could be usefull. Fair enough.
Here in Ceara, english is certainly good on a CV as competition for jobs is harsh but it is not of pratical use. Tourism is 95% national and the 5% remaining are mainly from South-America and from European latin countries (Portugal, Italia, Spain and France). There is not much international companies or only regional branches so english is of no use.  I meet a few people here,  who gave me with proud their business card with written on it MBA bla bla blah...switching in english then trying to switch back in portuguese because the conversation in english was too painfull...(and it is not because my english is good...far from that).
Coming to the topic, I believe english has no link with bad services. However, low education level, not any knowledges of "best practise" and lack of competition is some industry has a

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