Director General, CPC, Dupe Atoki
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has backed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) imposition of punitive fines on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) that violate the commission’s directive on the Do Not Disturb (DND) service.
The Council’s position, however, is that the enforcement of the DND service should be stepped up by NCC to ensure that the MNOs comply fully with the directive in the interest of consumers.
CPC stated this at fourth quarterly meeting of the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF), organised by NCC in Lagos.
The Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, represented by Head of the Council in Lagos, Joshua Ngada, said CPC was pleased to learn of the directive of the NCC to telecom operators in Nigeria to introduce the DND code across their networks with effect from June 30th, stressing that the directive required all operators to dedicate a short code for use by subscribers to opt-in or out of the ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ database on their networks.
However, she said months after the said directive was handed down to operators, complaints about promotional and marketing messages from 3rd Party services (Bulk SMS, VAS promos, etc) still persist.
She listed lack of awareness and technical hitches as major challenges affecting the success of the initiative. According to her, there should be more consumer awareness and enforcement on the part of the regulator.
The NCC had said that with effect from July 1, any operator that failed to comply with directive on unsolicited SMS risks a fine of N5 million, with additional N500, 000 per day, for as long as the contravention persists.
In his opening remarks, Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Abdullahi Maikano, said consultations with the industry led to the adoption of the DND initiatives. He disclosed that all network operators have activated a short code, 2442, to enable consumers manage the type of massages coming into their phones.
To the outgoing Chairperson, ICAF, Mrs. Laetitia Akinlami, said the issue of unsolicited commercial messages had plagued the telecommunications consumers for a long time.
“In the past year, it has been on the front burner of ICAF discussions and consequently its recommendations to the commission. We are all seeing the results today, which has considerably reduced the rate of unsolicited commercial messages,” she stated.
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