The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a press statement signed by Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, has disclosed that for greater effectiveness in the sector, network providers must comply with the commission’s consumer complaints policy. 

This framework tagged ‘Complaints Categories and Service Level Agreements (CC/SLA)’ was reviewed by the commission in November 2019 to strengthen the protection of telecoms consumers and other stakeholders. The new framework was revised at a programme attended by representatives of telecoms operators, consumers, and other rights advocacy groups in the country. 

“The 2019 review of the CC/SLA, in collaboration with operators and other stakeholders, was essentially to strengthen effective and prompt resolutions of consumers complaints by reviewing the timelines, broaden and streamline complaint categories and establishing applicable sanctions on operators that fail to meet the timelines stated for resolving issues related to the services delivery to their consumers,” NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said.

According to the statement released, when a telecom subscriber experiences fluctuation in service, the subscriber shall be contacted by the service provider within four hours of reporting the incident and the disruption shall be restored within 72 hours. If the matter is escalated to the commission, the consumer is expected to receive feedback within two hours and the commission will ensure the issue is resolved within 48 hours. Additionally, subscribers will be offered an apology and the expiry date of their data bundle will be extended by the number of days the disruption lasted.

“Under the broad category, ‘Billing’, complaints connected to any unexplained change in account balance resulting in a drop in balance, due to overcharging subscriber’s account for calls, Short Messaging Services (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), shall be resolved by the operator within 24 hours. Should there be a need by the subscriber to escalate the complaint to NCC, the Commission shall ensure the matter is resolved within 12 hours. The subscriber shall be notified of resolution and where applicable, compensated with five per cent of overcharged amount which is payable daily to the consumer for every 24hrs of default.

“Similarly, within the framework of QoS/QoE in the voice segment, the revised agreement stipulates that, when there is call interference or challenge with voice clarity, resulting in the inability of a subscriber to carry out an uninterrupted conversation, the subscriber shall receive a response from the service provider within four hours of reporting the incident and the service provider shall ensure the challenge is resolved within 72 hours.”

Furthermore, if there is a basis for the subscriber to escalate the matter to NCC, the commission shall revert to the subscriber within two hours of receiving the report and ensure that the matter is resolved within 48 hours in line with the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations and the subscriber shall be communicated.

Under the new framework that is been implemented, in the case of sales promotion and ads, when a subscriber does not receive bonus or incentives won during promotions, the service provider shall resolve the matter within 12 hours of receiving the complaints, instead of 24 hours as stipulated in the current existing categorisation and agreement.

In the expansive category of call centre/customer care, the NCC agreed with stakeholders that when a subscriber is unable to connect to call centre or service provider helpline, the matter shall be treated by the service provider within four hours of receiving the report. If the matter is escalated to the commission, NCC shall ensure that the issue is resolved within two hours of receiving the complaints, and steps taken towards resolution shall be communicated to the subscriber in all circumstances.

Concerning the matters related to faulty terminals that stifle a subscriber’s ability to use phones, modems, routers and related devices appropriately, the commission said such incidents shall be resolved based on terms and conditions for all devices.

To understand the rights and privileges contained in the document, all stakeholders and particularly telecom consumers are advised to study the report.

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