By Adeyemi Adepetun
Telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has asked service providers in the industry to desist from act capable of inflicting pains and worries on subscribers in the country.
Specifically, NCC wants operators including MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile, among others, to desist from acts that amount to cheating the about 150 million active subscribers in Nigeria via the services rendered.
This call came at the weekend, when the NCC took its Consumer Town Hall Meeting (CTM), the 37th edition, to Epe community, a suburb of Lagos. The theme was “Information and Education as a Catalyst for Consumer Protection.”
Majority of consumers in the area, which attended the meeting, complained bitterly about the poor quality of service in the region, which to them has become a menace and gradually making them lose interest in telecoms services.
The disgruntled subscribers lodged complaints such as data and airtime depletion, unauthorised auto renewal, call drops, unresponsive customer care, illegal deductions and poor quality of service.
Major complaints from MTN subscribers are poor network connections, unauthorized auto renewal and illegal deductions of airtime.
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For Airtel, consumers complained of unauthorized automatic subscription to value-added services without their approval and continuous deduction of airtime for auto-renewal despite opting out.
A Globacom subscriber, Suraju Alao, who spoke in Yoruba, lamented that the service was nothing to write home about in Epe, adding: “they also remove my money without my permission. Thank God for today (weekend) that we can talk and say our mind. Glo needs to change for the better.”
One of the chiefs, who don’t want to be named, complained to The Guardian, at a post event briefing that he suffered airtime depletion from Globacom without making calls or receiving notifications from them as to what the deductions were meant for.
It was the same fate for 9Mobile. A subscriber, who simply gave his name as Omole, complained of data depletion, saying “is a subtle corruption when you have to subscribe to data, your money is taken but you can’t even use the data at all. This is so pathetic.”
In all, the Epe Community wants telecom service to improve greatly in the suburb, with a subtle call on the regulator to do its work as required by the law, “so as to guarantee the money we are spending.”
Though, they appreciated NCC for bringing the town hall meeting to Epe, but appealed to them to stop operators from cheating them.
Three of the operators, including MTN, Airtel and 9Mobile, whose representatives were on ground, appealed to the subscribers, with a promise to address all listed challenges as fast as possible. No Globacom representative was on ground at the event.
Addressing the community, the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau at the NCC, Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, thanked the traditional leaders and their subjects for turning out in their large numbers to lodge their complains about telecoms services in the community.
Onwueguchulam, who promised that NCC would look into all the issues raised, appealed to service providers to stop every activities capable of eroding the confidence of telecoms subscribers.
At a post even interview, the NCC director, urged the operators to look into activities, which amount to cheating of subscribers.
She explained in her welcome address that the forum was one of the initiatives of NCC to bring together, telecoms consumers in the rural areas, network operators and the regulator to discuss and proffer solutions to consumer related issues and ensure they have value for money through effective service delivery.