A FEW months ago, Zambia Information Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) announced the establishment of a toll-free call centre.
Following the recent consumer awareness programmes undertaken in Northern and Muchinga provinces by ZICTA staff, there have been calls for more information about the call centre. This column highlights the role of the centre in the regulatory regime.
The authority established the 7070 call centre to facilitate handling of previously unresolved complaints of information communication technology (ICT) and postal services users, respectively, in line with its regulatory mandate to protect consumers.
This mandate to look after the interests of consumers is clearly stipulated in the ICT Act number 15 of 2009, which states the functions of ZICTA under Section 6 (1)Â and (f) as:
â€˜Promote the interests of consumers, purchasers, and other users of information and electronic communication services including, in particular, persons with disabilities and the aged in respect of the accessibility, quality and variety of services and equipment.â€™
Further, under Section 68 of the same Act, ZICTA is empowered to establish guidelines for the making, recepting and handling of complaints of consumers regarding the provision of ICT services.
In accordance with the aforementioned section, ZICTA has since developed (in consultation with key stakeholders, including service providers and consumer representatives) and published the Consumer Protection Guidelines to bind all persons regulated under the law.
According to the Consumer Protection Guidelines, ZICTA is mandated to investigate and determine any complaint in accordance with the provisions of ICT, Postal and Electronic Communication Technology (ECT) Acts.
The call centre is available from Monday to Friday, during working hours (08:00hrs to 17:00hrs).
It is important to note that one can lodge their complaint from any network using the toll-free number 7070 at no cost.
The ZICTA call centre agents are equipped to attend to postal & courier service providers as well as ICTs user complaints. The following are the issues that users may complain about;
1. Poor quality of service
2. High tariffs
3. Faulty telephone services
4. Billing inaccuracy
5. False and misleading advertising
6. Loss of airtime
7. Service suspension
8. Unsolicited SMS
10. Intrusion of privacy
11. Delayed delivery of posted item
12. Suspension of service
14. Health and safety
15. Unavailability of emergency line numbers
16. Access to call centre
It is important to note that before the call centre handles a complaint there are some simple steps it expects the dissatisfied complainant to take. These include:
1. The complaint has been lodged in with the service provider against whom the complaint is being made and a reference number issued.
2. If the complaint is not resolved, the complainant must demand that the complaint be handled by the supervisor of the customer care representative.
3. The complainant demands to be given a reference number for the complaint they lodge with their respective service provider. Alternatively, complainants must note down the names of the persons they dealt with as well as the date and time they lodged in the complaint.
4. The complaint must be resolved within 14 days by the service provider.
5. If the complaint is not handled within the stipulated time, it canÂ be forwarded to the ZICTA call centre.
6. Complainants logging a call that they cannot access the service provider call centres can call ZICTA directly without following these steps.
Complaints may also be made to ZICTA through other avenues such as:
? Submitting an online complaint form electronicallyÂ fromÂ the ZICTA website www.zicta.zm
? Sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
? Posting to Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, p.o. Box 36871, Lusaka
? Delivering the complaint to ZICTA offices at Stand No 4909, Corner of Independence Avenue & United Nations Rd, Longacres, Lusaka.
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