Business

Rights of mobile service customers

Dear CCPC,
Do mobile service providers have the right to bar their customers from accessing customer service lines and what legal redress can I take when I have been barred from complaining about missing airtime from my phone. – DN
Hi DN,
IT IS always a joy to receive letters from you consumers as you are the reason why the CCPC exist, and this shows that you are determined to receive the best services and know more about your rights and obligations.
As CCPC, we have continued to receive such complaints against mobile phone operators and we will endeavour to respond accordingly. As you might be aware, this year’s World Consumer Right Day theme was anchored on ‘Good phone service, your right’. During the commemoration, various stakeholders made it very clear that what mobile service consumers receive left much to be desired, in fact the commemoration summed up by challenging the service providers to up their game by providing consumers with services they rightfully deserved.
Therefore, blocking access to such a system is not only a violation of the consumer rights but goes against the licence requirements. Customer service lines are of course meant for you consumers and you have every right to complain of any dissatisfactory service whether missing airtime or any other concern.
It is a licence obligation for all mobile operators to set up a customer care system within 30 days of being granted an operating licence. The customer care system among other things should be able to receive inquiries and complaints concerning the services provided by the licensee.
As CCPC, we have always advised traders of goods and services to establish a customer care centre or help desk where such issues can be addressed. They are a ‘help desk’ for the mobile phone operators whose main aim is to provide a platform for consumers to reach the service provider. In fact the customer service lines or centres are created with the main objective of improving service delivery to customers.
All mobile operators that are still barring callers to their call centres are not offering services to their customers with reasonable care and skill and hence are in breach of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). You have a right to report such incidences to CCPC, so that appropriate sanctions can be meted out on the erring mobile operators.
It is therefore, imperative that, where one has time, they visit offices or service centres of the respective mobile service provider and express their concerns. This is very important, and consumers need to always endeavour to do this.
If you have exhausted the options available to you and the service providers seem not to be helpful, please do not hesitate to take such complaints to relevant authorities such as CCPC and in the case of mobile service the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority.
These institutions will investigate your complaint, and if they establish that you have a genuine case and your air time was erroneously deducted from your account, they will assist you in ensuring that you get back your airtime.
So, if you have exhausted all the options, please feel free to visit or write to CCPC and we will be more than willing to institute and investigate the issue, and advise you of the appropriate course of action.
Please email to us on: zcomp@ccpc.org.zm, h.chaaba@ccpc.org.zm. Visit our Facebook page:www.facebook.com/pages/Competition-and-Consumer-Protection-Commission-Zambia. We are at 4th Floor Main Post Office Building, P.O Box 34919. Lusaka. Telephone: 222775/222787, Toll-free line: 5678 across all mobile phone networks.






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