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NCC urges telecoms operators to uphold complaints framework for stakeholders’ protection



The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), on Tuesday urged service providers to comply with the commission’s consumer complaints policy for effective service delivery.

In a statement by Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, its Director, Public Affairs, NCC stated that it had carried out a revision of the framework stipulating the processes for resolving consumer complaints arising from service delivery by operators.

Adinde said that the revision was done in recognition of the 2019 revised framework at a programme attended by representatives of telecoms stakeholders.

He stated that this was in order to achieve greater effectiveness in the sector and to strengthen the protection of telecoms consumers and other stakeholders.

Adinde said that the framework was tagged Complaints Categories and Service Level Agreements (CC/SLA).

“In the reviewed CC/SLA, when a telecom subscriber experiences fluctuation in service, such as instability in the internet services, the subscriber shall be contacted by the service provider within four hours of reporting the incident.

“The disruption shall be restored within 72 hours.

“If the matter is escalated to the commission, the consumer is expected to receive feedback within two hours, while the commission ensures the issue is resolved within 48 hours.

“Additionally, the subscriber shall be offered an apology and the expiry date of his data bundle shall be extended by the number of days the disruption lasted,” he said.

Adinde added that billing complaints by consumers would be revised within 24 hours while compensation would be paid where necessary.

“Under the broad category, ‘billing’, complaints connected to any unexplained change in account balance resulting in a drop in balance, due to overcharging subscriber’s account for calls, SMS, and MMS shall be resolved by the operator within 24 hours.

“Should there be a need by the subscriber to escalate the complaint to NCC, the Commission shall ensure the matter is resolved within 12 hours.

“The subscriber shall be notified of resolution and where applicable, compensated with five per cent of overcharged amount which is payable daily to the consumer for every 24hrs of default.

“Similarly, the revised agreement stipulates that, when there is call interference or challenge with voice clarity, resulting in the inability of a subscriber to carry out uninterrupted conversation, the subscriber shall receive response from the service provider within four hours of reporting the incident.

“The service provider shall ensure the challenge is resolved within 72 hours.

“Should there be a basis for the subscriber to escalate the matter to NCC, the commission shall revert to the subscriber within two hours of receiving the report and ensure that the matter is resolved within 48 hours in line with the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations, ” he said.

He said that the regulation also mandated service providers to redeem incentives won by customers promptly.

“Under the new CC/SLAs, in the case of sales promotion and advertisement, when a subscriber does not receive, within stipulated time, bonus or incentives won during promotions, the service provider shall resolve the matter within 12 hours of receiving the complaints.

“Should the matter be escalated to NCC, the commission shall ensure it is resolved within six hours in line with the guidelines on advertisement and promotions.

“As in all cases, the subscriber shall be communicated on steps taken towards resolution of complaints,” he assured.

He said that the NCC has agreed with stakeholders that when a subscriber was unable to connect to call centre or service provider help line, the matter shall be treated by the service provider within four hours of receiving the report.

“Where the matter is escalated to the commission, NCC shall ensure that the issue is resolved within two hours of receiving the complaints, and steps taken towards resolution shall be communicated to the subscriber in all circumstances.”

On matters connected to faulty terminals, such as defective devices that stifle a subscriber’s ability to use phones, modems, routers and related devices appropriately, Adinde said that such incidents shall be resolved based on terms and conditions for all devices.

Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said that the 2019 review of the CC/SLA, in collaboration with operators and other stakeholders, was essentially to strengthen effective and prompt resolutions of consumers’ complaints.

“This would be done by reviewing the timelines, broaden and streamline complaint categories and establishing applicable sanctions on operators that fail to meet the timelines stated for resolving issues related to services delivery to their consumers,” the EVC said.

Danbatta stated that matters relating to Base Transceiver Stations (BTS), such as problems arising from installation and location of base stations, masts or towers, shall be resolved by the concerned operator(s) within the 48 hours, as stated in the revised CC/SLA.

He said that if the Commission was notified by the affected consumer, the matter would be referred, to the Commission’s Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department, which shall ensure resolution of the matter within 48 hours and inform the complainant accordingly.

He added that the CC/SLA document, which is available on the Commission’s website, contains 17 broad categories and about 90 sub-categories.

He enjoined all stakeholders, particularly the telecom consumers, to create the time to study the document in order to understand their rights and privileges.

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