CAMA hits on Malawi phone operators: World Consumer Rights Day

Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has hit on failure by mobile-phone service providers to treat consumers fairly.

The consumer watchdog said this in a statement ahead of World Consumer Rights Day  on March 15th with this year’s campaign dubbed Fix Our Phone Rights.

CAMA Executive Director, John Kapito, said in the statement  that there were many issues that affect mobile consumers in the country need urgent address.

Kapito: Fix our phone rights

Kapito: Fix our phone rights

Kapito said with number of consumers using mobile service on rise, there was a need for mobile-phone service operators to provide them with fair contracts explained in clear, complete and accessible language.

“Consumers often feel cheated by their mobile provider, either because of unfair contract terms and conditions or because they didn’t understand what they had signed. Telecom providers should always provide consumers with fair contracts with all relevant information explained clearly so that consumers can exercise their right to make informed choices,” he said.

Kapito said Phone Rights were important as mobile services have transformed from just being telephones that enable people talk and text, to mini computers giving them access to information and services that are crucial to their livelihoods and health.

“Provide consumers with their money’s worth Consumers subscribe to mobile services in order to communicate and to access information. It is only reasonable that they then expect those services to be consistent and of a high quality without experiencing lot of drop calls.

“Provide consumers with fair and transparent billing Consumers shouldn’t be billed for services they didn’t request. We demand fairness and transparency in our bills, and usage of mobile services and protection from billing fraud”.

The human rights activist has called on service providers and regulators to protect personal data that consumers give, saying consumers need to have ‘power’ over their own information and be able to penalize providers for abusive and unjust business practices.

“Whilst giving consent to use personal data can enhance the experience of using a mobile phone, it can also compromise the consumer’s right to safety. Consumers must be able to set the terms of how this data is used. Listen and respond to consumer complaints Telecom providers should have effective complaints systems, and if consumers are not satisfied there should be redress mechanisms to ensure a fair outcome,” he added.

WCRD was established on 15 March 1983 to promote consumer rights around the world. This year the focus on stakeholders such as regulators, mobile providers and consumers to highlight the consumer-issues that are undermining and frustrating the success of new mobile-phone technology.

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