Consumer Protection: Minister Narrates His Recharge Card Ordeal

As the world brace up to commemorate the 2017 Consumer Rights Day on March 17, a recent personal experience by the Minister of Communications Technology, Barrister Adebayo Shittu is another major pointer to the need for improved consumer protection in Nigeria.

The Minister while lamenting the increasing frustration consumers are subjected to in the digital age, narrated his ordeal at the hands of a telecoms operator in Nigeria. He thereafter stressed the need by the ministry and the Consumer Protection Council to team up and help tackle the menace.

During a meeting with the CPC management team led by the Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, the Minister said, “only last few days this week, I bought two N500 credit cards. I loaded the first N500 and got N500 alert. I loaded he second N500 and it said your main balance is N800. I had to call one of the directors of the company, who said I should give him 10 minutes.

“By the 10 minutes, they returned my N200 and I was wondering if the Minister of Communications can go through this experience how much less other Nigerians who are in millions. It is a very serious problem; we have been on it for quite some time. In fact, I had cause to invite all telecoms stakeholders and virtually read the riot act but unfortunately, no progress has been made. Only two days ago at an MTN forum, I expressed my dissatisfaction” the Minister lamented.

“It is a relief to me that CPC is coming in to assist us. Actually, it is our job that you are coming to do because if you succeed in this respect, people will assume that we have improved and that will be very good. Whatever encouragement and support we must give, we will certainly give them and honestly, I’m so excited.”

However, this is not the only way telecoms operators shortchange Nigerian consumers. Many consumers have lost money as a result of over-scratching sub-standard recharge cards. Many get money deducted from their mobile balance for unsolicited ringtones and social messages. While majority of Nigerians get their privacy being eroded on a daily basis with unsolicited messages from telecoms operators.

Nigerians reading this can only hope that the collaboration between these two agencies will help reduce the current rate of customer extortion in the telecoms sector.


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