Photograph — opentext

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has discovered that there were illegal deductions of customer’s airtime by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for various Value Added Service (VAS) after Nigeria’s communication regulatory body carried out a thorough investigation into the matter. The NCC mentioned in a statement yesterday at Abuja that it would soon give the order that the telcos in the country should refund the illegal deductions made in the last two years.

The commission expressed its displeasure about the illegal deductions made by the MNOs; it said it had noted the high level of complaints made by customers as regards forceful subscription as well as airtime deductions for these subscriptions. It also said it had instructed different agencies like the Do-Not-Disturb facility to tackle the issue but to no avail. Hence, the need for a proper investigation on the path of the NCC

“Disturbed by the persistent occurrence of the menace despite these measures, the commission carried out a long and comprehensive investigative audit into VAS subscriptions across all MNO and VAS platforms.

The investigative audit was carried out by departments in the commission led by the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department the Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI), Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), Legal and Regulatory Services (LRS), and Licensing and Authorisation (L&A).

The audit team carried out an investigation on subscribers Call Detail Records from MNOs and subscriptions for VAS providers over the last two years and discovered that a huge percentage of the VAS subscriptions were involuntary.

The regulatory agency, NCC said it had continuously stated that actions like forceful subscriptions and illegal deductions were unacceptable. The NCC said that based on the investigative audit, it would direct the accused MNOs to make refunds to affected customers. The commission would most likely impose appropriate sanctions on the indicted organizations, this would be determined by evidence-based interventions.

The NCC also plans to suspend or outrightly stop the operations of VAS platforms and services in the best interest of the customers. It assures customers that these measures would be implemented with minimal inconvenience to them and also assures the stakeholders that it would continue to use all available resources to protect the rights of its customers of telecommunications.

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