By Etuka Sunday
As part of its consumer protection activities, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has received and satisfactorily resolved 92,757 service-related complaints escalated to it for resolution by aggrieved telecommunications consumers in the past two years.
Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Alh. Ismail Adedigba, disclosed this in a report detailing consumer protection activities of the Commission presented during a consumer awareness campaign held in Niger State recently.
“Between January 2017 and December 2018, the Commission received a total of 118,784 complaints from consumers, of which 92,757, representing 78 per cent of total complaints received during the two years period were successfully resolved to the satisfaction of telecom consumers,” he said.
Accordingly, Adedigba said that 5,010 appreciations were received from some consumers who felt satisfied after the Commission had successfully resolved their issues for them and therefore decided to formally write and call the Commission to express their gratitude for the Commission interventionist efforts.
He explained that the complaints and appreciations were received through the Commission’s various channels of lodging complaints and interactive engagement platforms.
These, he said, include the NCC toll-free Line – 622, which is the Commission’s Contact Centre, the NCC Consumer Portal, consumer complaint redress email, written complaints, Social Media as well as those received at the Commission’s various outreach programmes which include Consumer Town Hall Meeting (CTM), Consumer Outreach Programme (COP) and Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP).
Through the three consumer outreach programmes usually held by the Commission across different states on a rotational basis, Adedigba said more than 31, 202 consumers have been engaged face-to-face and adequately educated on their rights and privileges with respect to provision of telecoms services within the last two years.
He said during such fora, consumer fact sheets developed by the Commission on various service-related, topical issues are also distributed to educate consumers on various issues in the industry.
“The Commission places a lot of importance on consumer-related issues. For this reason, the Commission has embarked on various initiatives, aimed at enlightening and protecting the consumers to ensure they get quality services, that they are treated right by the service providers and that they get value for money spent on telecom services, be it voice or data.
“Also, we ensure that we embark on initiatives aimed at providing wider service options as well as putting more control in the hands of the consumers to determine what they receive, especially in terms of value-added services (VAS) in line with our ‘PIE’ Mandate of Protecting, Informing and Educating the consumers. We understand the industry is big and we are doing our best to ensure consumer get quality service delivery,” he said.
Further to its determination to put more control in the hands of consumers to determine what they receive on their mobile lines, he noted that the NCC, in 2016, created the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code.
Adedigba explained that the Short Code allows telecoms consumers to get more protection against unsolicited text messages received as VAS and nuisance calls as well as against Internet-generated/distributed spam text messages that are fraudulently used to deduct consumer’s airtime credit.
“The DND code can be activated fully by sending “STOP” as a text message to 2442, thereby blocking all unsolicited text messages. It can also be activated partially by sending “HELP” as a text message to 2442 to choose from a list of categories of unsolicited messages which the consumer still wants to be receiving,” he said.
Adedigba further disclosed that, till date, more than 12 million telecom consumers have activated DND Code and as a Commission, we continue to create more awareness on DND in order for consumers to have control over the kind of unsolicited text messages they receive.
“We expect that this number will continue to grow as more consumers become aware of the DND Short Code through continuous awareness campaigns activities at our outreach events. However, subscriptions to the service is optional,” he said.
Another important thing we do that I need to stress is the monitoring of the customer care centres (CCC) of service providers.
“The Commission routinely embarks on the monitoring of CCC of service providers across different states on a continuous basis all in a bid to ensure that consumers are served better when they go into the CCC of the operators to resolve any service-related issues,” he said.