ICASA CALLS ON CONSUMERS TO EXERCISE THEIR CONSUMER RIGHTS IN ENSURING ACCESS TO ICT SERVICES
15/03/2023 21:57 in News
PRETORIA-As the world gears to celebrate World Consumer Rights Day on March 15, ICASA encourages consumers to utilise the platforms and services provided by the Authority to protect their rights concerning Postal, Telecommunications and Broadcasting services.
Celebrated under the theme: "Empowering Consumers Through Clean Energy Transitions", World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2023 aims to create and raise awareness on issues that affect consumers across the country and the world.
The activities to be organised during the month will assist in raising the awareness of the consumers about issues concerning their rights in the digital environment.
Therefore, 15 March is dedicated to the cause of promoting consumer rights in all sectors of the economy, including broadcasting, postal, and telecommunications sectors.
This is a significant day for ICASA, given that it is its core mandate includes promoting the rights of consumers and ensuring their protection against unfair business practices, poor quality of service, and malicious and fraudulent activities.
ICASA recognises World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) as an opportunity for the Authority to reflect on the strides made to ensure that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected. The Authority has implemented several measures to protect consumers' rights and is constantly seeking ways to improve them.
It is critical for us to educate consumers about their rights. As such, ICASA's consumer educational programmes and outreach activities continue across the country. These programmes are intended to educate the public about ICASA and the proper communication channels to follow when filing a complaint. While the educational programmes are ongoing, the Authority encourages consumers to raise their concerns and engage through the platforms provided by the Authority, including social media.
Consumer Protection unit
This dedicated unit was established to ensure that consumers continue to be protected in the broadcasting, telecommunications, and postal sectors. This is accomplished through public-awareness campaigns and a more efficient complaints handling system.
Members of the public are urged to use the platforms the Authority provides to raise their concerns or to escalate their complaints in respect of issues such as:
• Poor quality of service, including complaints about poor network coverage, dropped calls, installation or activation delays, account transfers and suspension of service, or mobile number portability problems;
• Billing errors in respect of data or voice services, overcharging and bill shocks in respect of international roaming;
• Quality of service complaints in relation to the use of postal services, including poor customer service, excessive queues, or delayed, lost, damaged or stolen mail items.
ICASA encourages consumers to follow the steps set out below to lodge a complaint:
• Complainants must first be lodged with their respective service provider.
• Consumers making complaints are urged to secure a reference number from the provider of the poor service, so that the issue can be properly logged and followed up by ICASA.
• The service provider must be given 14 working days to resolve the issue lodged. • If the service provider is not able to resolve the consumer complaint within 14 working days, the complaint can then be referred to ICASA. • The complaint must be in writing and can be lodged directly on the ICASA website or a complaints form can be completed and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. • Consumers are advised to support their complaint with all the relevant information, such as emails, dates and times of phone calls etc.
Consumer Advisory Panel
In addition to the specific measures listed above, ICASA has established a Consumer Advisory Panel (CAP) under the Electronic Communications Act. This Panel advises the Authority on consumer issues in South Africa, and promotes consumer interests and rights, with a focus on persons living with disabilities, senior citizens, and people living in under-serviced areas. CAP may be contacted at email@example.com.
ICASA recognises consumer education and empowerment as important factors that are key to realising of its regulatory mandate to act in the interests of the public.