NCC receives 18,711 complaints in Q3 on excess billings by service providers

Telecoms industry.

Sanction looms as no operator meets set target
For the third quarter running, there appears to be no respite yet for telecommunications subscribers over issues relating to excess billings by service providers.

According to the Nigerian Telecoms Consumer Complaints Report for Q3, released yesterday by the Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the number of consumer complaints received during the period increased by 21.7 per cent compared to that of Q2 2017.

The report revealed that while in Q1 there were 19,730 complaints, it dropped in Q2 to 15, 377 and went up again in Q3 with 18, 711 complaints.

The NCC said that the increase in consumer complaints could be attributed to the rise in consumers’ awareness of the commission’s complaint channels such as the 622 toll free line, consumer web portal, various social media handles, including Twitter, Facebook and written complaints from customers.

The issues of over-billing led the consumers’ complaints as it recorded 51 per cent. This was followed by Value Added Issues (VAS) with 13.7 per cent; SMS issues nine per cent; call-set-up 6.7 per cent; data services issues 5.8 per cent; failed/unsuccessful DND requests 3.2 per cent and SIM challenges 3.2 per cent.

Others are recharge card issues 2.8 per cent; sales promotion claim issues two per cent, while other related matters accounted for 2.6 per cent.

The commission stated that billing related issues had to do with deductions from activations of unsolicited VAS and telecom promotions and products; over-deduction (inaccurate charges); charges for unauthorised services and charges for unsuccessful calls.

Others are charges for undelivered SMS, inability to change tariff plan, virtual top-up deducted but not received and charges for caller ring back tune not downloaded, among others.

On the analysis of call centre connection success rate for the four major service providers, NCC said on a regular basis, it monitors the ease with which consumers are able to connect to operators’ help lines for lodging complaints, enquiries, among others.

However, the Director of Consumer Affairs, NCC, Alhaji Abdulai Maikano, declined to speak, saying: “I am not authorised to speak with the media. Get across to the DPA.”

But President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, called for compensation for subscribers.

Ogunbanjo noted that the report from NCC was a direct testament of what subscribers are actually going through.

He, therefore, urged the regulator to come up with policy that will ensure that telephone users are compensated.

The NATCOMs boss, who said billing issues were very big and contentious, stressed that the various complaints showed that the networks need serious and fast upgrades.



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