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[December 18, 2012]
Telcos silent on hidden charges [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THEY may offer lucrative deals and claim to have the lowest rates in the country, but telecommunications service providers (telcos) face an uphill task in winning over disgruntled customers.
National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) deputy director Ravin Karunanidhi said this was because the centre had been receiving numerous complaints against the telcos.
"We receive between 10 and 15 complaints against telcos daily and most of them are unsubscribed charges, lack of coverage, dropped calls and high data-roaming charges.
"Many consumers complain their calls are not getting through or goes to voice message even when the other person is not using their cell phone. Worse still, they are charged each time this happens," he said in response to the directive by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to telcos to review their call plan packages from Jan 1.
Ravin said lower packages were not the solution as there were other issues that telcos and the authorities should look at.
He said telcos failed to clearly inform customers about roaming charges and there were cases where people who went overseas for two days, returned home to find they had been billed thousands of ringgit for data usage.
He said consumers were left feeling cheated as they were not clearly informed of the hidden charges and when they demanded explanation, they were given unsatisfactory answers most of the time.
He said telcos only addressed the issues once NCCC took them to task.
"The moment we issue them a letter demanding that they look into the problem, we see that it is resolved within a week.
"Perhaps they are afraid that we will take it up with the MCMC or the Press, so they act. At the moment, they are solving problems on an individual basis only, they must address it across the board," he said.
Ravin said most telcos just shrugged off complaints from customers and would try to frustrate them by putting them on hold when they contacted the customer service centre.
He said the MCMC needed to introduce a redress mechanism or a tribunal which would address consumer complaints and keep telcos in check.
Meanwhile, DiGi has welcomed the MCMC's recent directive, stating it would promote healthy competition and encourage service providers to operate more efficiently.
Its chief marketing officer, Albern Murty, said their packages were continuously under review to ensure they remained relevant and of best value to customers.
"We believe our customers are currently enjoying the best packages in the market.
"We will continue to assess and review them to suit the changing mobile usage trends." (c) 2012 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
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