Airtel SMS overbilling: Minister vows to prosecute negligence of operators

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By Ibiyemi Mathew

The Minister of Commu-nications and digital economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has said that the ministry will not tolerate any negligence from operators

The minister disclosed this in a tweet via his official twitter handle while responding to an angry Airtel consumer who is a victim of the overbilling.

He said, “Please go ahead and write the complaint and attach evidence. Any negligence by the operators cannot be ignored. The regulator must ensure fairness and also protect consumers.”

Recall that Nigerian NewsDirect had published complaints by telecommunication subscribers in the country over excessive charge by Airtel Nigeria on Short Message Service (SMS).

Investigations by Nigerian NewsDirect revealed that many consumers were billed for a three page SMS and more whenever they sent a two page SMS.

Research conducted by the intelligence unit of Nigerian NewsDirect disclosed that by virtue of the provisions of Section 30 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 Consumer Code of Practice Regulations, 2007,a Licensee shall at all times ensure that billing is accurate and timely; billing accuracy is verifiable; sufficient information shall be on the bill or otherwise readily available to the consumer for verification of the bill without any charge.

The act also empowers consumers to promptly discover any anomaly in their bills, and will be able to prove if they are billed for calls/texts that they did not make.

Nigerian NewsDirect contacted the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to know the progress made with the investigation and he responded thus; “Received and investigation is ongoing and will revert. Please bear.”

In the same vein, the PRO of Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, (FCCPC) Onadje Ijagwu speaking with Nigerian NewsDirect via a telephone conversation disclosed that investigation is still ongoing by the commission and promised to revert to Nigerian NewsDirect when the investigation is concluded.

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