Consumer complaints surge: ICTQatar

January 07, 2014 - 6:15:45 am

Dr Eiman Al Ansari, Government and Consumer Affairs Manager, the Regulatory Authority, MICT, speaking during a press conference at the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology in Doha yesterday. Kammutty VP

Doha: The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ictQatar) received about 850 calls in 2013 from consumers relating to complaints and enquiries about telecoms products and services. All the complaints were regarding quality of services and no complaint was related to the pricing of the products and services. 

The number of complaints jumped 93 percent to 440 during 2013 from 227 in 2012 while enquiries increased 51 percent to 418 in 2013 from 276 in 2012.

The ministry yesterday released Telecommunications Consumer Protection Policy, which aims to protect the interests of consumers and help them make informed decisions while buying telecommunication products and services.

The policy states that the service providers should not make any false or misleading claims or suggestions regarding the availability, price or quality of their telecommunications services or equipment and the information given to consumers should be accurate and updated.

“This Consumer Protection Policy will now form the basis for our consumer protection work in telecommunications markets in Qatar,” said Dr Eiman Al Ansari, Consumer and Government Affairs Manager, Regulatory Authority, ictQatar. 

The policy was developed following public consultation with the major users of telecommunications services in Qatar, and the draft Telecommunication Consumer Protection Policy was published for public consultation in September 2013.

“ictQatar already operates an independent complaints service, which consumers can contact if they are dissatisfied with the way their telecommunications operator has treated their complaint,” added Dr Eiman. “But the improvements made through the draft policy will make it more effective and better able to ensure that operators are acting in the interests of consumers.”

The policy says that the service providers must give retail customers at least one chargeable period’s notice in advance of increases in recurring charges. Also the company must publish any increase in price in one local Arabic newspaper and one local English newspaper.

Service providers’ written complaints code should be concise, easy to understand, and only contain information about the procedure for handling complaints.

Service provider’s complaints handling procedures must be sufficiently accessible to enable customers with disabilities to lodge and progress a complaint.

As per the policy a service provider is required to ensure a customer can access emergency call services at no cost.

The Peninsula