Due to the incessant complaints from telecoms subscribers over poor service quality, especially during the yuletide season, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has restated its commitment to protect telecoms subscribers, and vowed to sanction any operator that violates its directives on consumer protection.
The Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau at NCC, Mr. Ismail Adedigba, charged telecommunications operators to comply with the directives given them on consumer protection or face severe sanction.
Adedigba, who said this during the 45th edition of the Consumer Town Hall Meeting, organised by NCC, in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, recently, said the directives became necessary to address the deluge of complaints coming from telecoms subscribers.
“I need to emphasise that failure of the operators to comply with the NCC directives on consumer protection, will attract appropriate penalties and sanctions,” Adedigba said.
According to him, the commission had been inundated with various complaints such as unsolicited text messages and call drops, including delay in delivering text messages and fast depletion of subscriber data before they are used up.
He said the commission had also received complaints on failure/refusal to roll over unused data at the expiration of data bundle by service providers.
Adedigba, said there were complaints of automatic renewal of data services upon expiration and activation/subscription to data and Value Added Services (VAS) without prior consent of the subscribers.
He also said there were complaints about call masking/refiling.
According to him, NCC in response to the complaints, decided to come up with the directives, in order to protect the consumer, being a consumer-centric institution that listens to subscribers.
”The NCC has taken a step on the issuance of directive to service providers on data rollover, which now enables consumers to roll over unused data for period of time, ranging from one day to seven days, depending on the data plan.
”NCC has also issued direction to service providers on forceful subscription of data services and Value Added Services (VAS), for them to desist from forceful/automatic renewal of data services, without prior consent of subscribers.
”The commission also developed 622 Toll-Free Line through which you can easily lodge complaints for any unresolved service issue to the NCC,” Adedigba said.
Adedigba said that with respect to call masking/refiling, the commission was working seriously to abate menace of the ugly development, including deployment of appropriate technology as a strategy to combat it.
The Chairman, Board of NCC, Sen Olabiyi Durojaiye said the programme was to enable a tripartite meeting of the regulator, operators and consumers.
Represented by Deputy Director/Head, Government and Public Relations Unit at NCC, Mr. Bashir Idris, Durojaiye said the meeting would enlighten telecommunications consumers and resolve pressing issues in the telecoms sector.
Adedigba said consumer is ‘King’ and as such, must be accorded the basic rights which include the right to be heard, right to be educated, right to choose, right to redress as well as right to safety.
In order to effectively address the myriad of challenges faced by telecoms subscribers and to effectively regulate the telecoms sector, the NCC had in February 2009, established The Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) with sets of objectives that will help address telecoms subscribers’ challenges, which range from poor service quality, incessant drop calls, inability to recharge mobile phones, fast depletion of data, to receiving of unsolicited messages.
Determined to do more in promoting telecoms consumer satisfaction, ICAF recently held its 2018 fourth quarter open meeting with the theme “Progressing From Customer Service to Customer Experience-The Consumer ’3 Point of View”.