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Phone companies liable to compensate aggrieved customers

PHONE companies in the country are required to pay their clients compensation in case it is proved that the latter have suffered after the former has gone against laws regulating the sector.

This was said by the Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa, when he was responding to a question from Chonga Member of Parliament, Mr Haroub Shamis (CUF), who wanted to know action taken by the government in dealing with dishonest phone companies.

The minister said that in 2011, the government came up with the Electronic and Postal Communications (Consumer Protection) Regulations so as to protect the rights of phone users.
He said that the regulations clearly highlight procedures to be taken by consumers in case they have complaints so that appropriate measures could be taken.

He told Parliament that according to the existing regulations, it is a criminal offence for any phone company to charge their consumers for services which they have not used or requested for.
He said that the regulations also clearly indicate that phone companies are restricted from conducting any form of promotion with the consumer, either through words of mouth or through short message services (SMS) without the consent of the client.

“When it is discovered that a phone service provider has gone against these rules and regulations, the company is required by law to pay the aggrieved customer,” said the minister. He said, however, that the existing challenge is that most subscribers are not aware of their rights which continue to be violated by phone companies, therefore they do not report such cases when they arise.

He urged consumers of phone services to report to the phone company in case they feel that there is a breach in the regulations and if no action is taken then they can report to Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).

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