Science & Technology

NCC to slam N5m fine on erring service provider on VAS

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it will impose a fine of N5million on any service provider that forcefully subscribes consumers to any Value Added Service (VAS) without their consent.

VAS is a popular telecommunications industry term for non-core services or services beyond standard voice calls. However, it can be used in any service industry for little or no cost.

Ms Helen Obi, the NCC Head of Zonal Operations made this known on Thursday at the Consumers Conversation Forum held Karu Local Government Area, Nassarawa State.

She said the commission on May 21 issued a directive to all network providers to desist from carrying out automatic or unwarranted renewal of data packages without their consent and forcefully subscribe consumers to the VAS services.

Obi said the penalty for forcefully subscribing consumers to the VAS service without their consent would attract a fine of N5 million for any service provider who defaults the directive.

“The service provider is supposed to pay N5 million for default and for everyday that the commission imposes that sanction and the fine is not paid; it will attract additional N500, 000.

“And they should not forcefully subscribe consumers to any VAS without the express written consent obtained from that consumer.

“It is expected that to obtain the consumer’s consent, they should send an SMS to the consumer asking whether that consumer wants to subscribe to such a service.

“The service provider will receive a response from the consumer after that, they should repeat that clarification to ensure the consumer understands that it is what the consumer wants.

“In a situation where there is a complaint from the consumer, that there is a forceful subscription to any VAS, the commission will take it up on behalf of the consumer by engaging the service provider to find out why, ‘’ she said.

Obi said NCC in recognition of the valuable contributions of the consumers to the phenomenal growth and development in the telecom sector, initiated the consumers conversation.

She said the forum was put in place to protect, educate and empower consumers to enable them make informed choices on the use of ICT services.

She said the conversation with consumers was to address the activation of the “Do-Not-Disturb” (DND) 2442 service across all telecom networks.

“It will also educate the consumer on the NCC Toll Free Line 622 on improved quality of service, Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) radiation, SIM Replacement also referred as “SIM Swap” and on the Roll Over of Subscriber’s unused Data Bundle and Mobile Number Portability (MNP) Billing.

Mr Mustapha Isah, the representative of the Chairman of Karu Local Government, Nassarawa commended NCC for bringing the initiative to the community’s doorstep.

Isah said the forum had helped them to understand the vital areas of how network providers operate as all seated patronise one network or the other.

He said the forum had enlightened the consumers on what to do and the plan that individual could key into and benefit from.

Some of the consumers complained of still receiving unsolicited messages and calls, urging the NCC to look into the issue.

Mr Zakari Abudulrauf, a subscriber, complained about his network provider, adding and in spite of NCC’s directive, he still received unsolicited messages and calls.

“In fact, I don’t understand why the deductions. ‘’

Another subscriber, Mr Jerry Amadi said whenever he recharged, his credit usually ran out quickly and urged NCC to urgently look into the issue.

Edited by: Grace Yussuf

Constance Athekame

Constance Athekame: NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor @ nnn.ng. Disclaimer.

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