Suppose one day you check your mobile balance only to find that you are completely out of credit even though you did not spend any of it. You then talk to the customer care centre and try to sort things out but nothing eventually happens. Who do you complain to then, or do you file a lawsuit?
The sad answer is- no, there really isn’t much to do, thanks to the fact that there still is no proper policy framework to ensure consumer rights as far as the mobile operators are concerned. As a result, despite several lawsuits being field against the telcos- Grameenphone in particular, nothing has come out of it for the subscribers.
Under the guise of ‘promotional packages’, the mobile operators are regularly charging high prices to their subscribers. Despite talking about quality service, the telcos still haven’t been able to sort out call drop issues or even provide standard customer service. On top of that, they regularly hand over phone numbers to telemarketers who then keep on sending annoying and unnecessary promotional text messages to the subscribers. Besides, there’s also the issue of poor network coverage. Yet, despite all these issues, the telecom operators are still finding ways to charge money from the hapless subscribers.
A source from the telcos confirmed that the operators are taking full advantage of the fact that there is no proper legislation protecting the welfare of mobile users. As a result, unless such legislations are put in place, no amount of complaints will amount to any help.
During September last year, BTRC had taken an initiative to resolve the situation. The telecom regulatory body came up proposed imposing 14 directives for the operators and asked for public feedback and a draft policy framework was published in late January this year. However, due to strong protest from the telcos on certain aspects of the draft, the issue has been unresolved since then.
The draft policy for ensuring consumer welfare included guaranteeing uninterrupted service, safeguarding personal information of subscribers, not disclosing private information of subscribers to third parties, e.g. telemarketers etc. Implementing these policies is right now the only way to ensure safeguarding of consumer rights.