Every consumer of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products and services is entitled to some basic rights, irrespective of their status in the society. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the consumer to demand these rights from their respective service providers. The mandate of the Commission is to ensure that consumers are made aware of these rights as they purchase and utilize ICT products and services.
Consumers have the following rights;
1.1 The Right to Be Informed
Consumers have the right to access transparent and up-to-date information about products, services and the terms and conditions of available or proposed services and products.
This right impels service providers to factually inform consumers about such issues as;
1.2 The Right to Choose
Consumers need to be provided access to a variety of products and services at competitive prices. This is so that options of which product to buy and which not to will exist for the consumer to evaluate and decide.
1. 3 The Right to Be Heard
It is incumbent upon all service providers to provide numerous opportunities and channels for consumers to express their opinions, complaints and suggestions towards the improvement of service delivery.
1.4 The Right to Safety
Consumers have a right to be protected against products, equipment and production processes that are hazardous to health or dangerous to the life of present and future generations. This is aimed at protecting consumers against sub-standard/defective products and services.
1.5 The Right to complain and redress:
Consumers have a right to receive fair settlement on just claims, on issues of misrepresentation, service failure or interruption and unsatisfactory services. Service providers are obliged to establish and publish procedures for handling complaints. Such procedures must be simple, transparent, and free to consumers. They should also allow for a fair and speedy resolution of consumer complaints.
1.6 Right to privacy
Consumer privacy involves the proper handling and protection of sensitive personal information that individuals provide in their dealings with service providers. Consumers have a right to personal privacy with no unauthorized access to their conversations and personal information. Operators and service providers should protect consumers’ privacy through a combination of appropriate control, security and transparent mechanisms relating to the collection and use of their personal data.
1.7 Right to quality services
Consumers have the right to receive high quality and reliable service. They are entitled to services that guarantee a minimum level of performance to ensure reliable communications and, in particular, access to effective emergency services. Furthermore, all communications equipment and services must be safe, delivered and repaired in a timely manner.
Equally important to consumer rights, are consumer responsibilities. Consumer responsibilities are positive actions, attitudes and behaviours that should be practiced while accessing and using telecommunications services and products, to ensure sensitivity to individuals, groups, authorities and the physical environment is upheld.
ICT consumers must take responsibility for;
2.1 Proper use of products and services;
Using communications systems and services in the appropriate manner, without abusing them.
2.2 Prompt payment of bills
Consumers have an obligation to pay for all products and services received as required.
Consumers should seek to familiarize themselves with and honour consumer obligations under any contract entered into with a product or service provider. This also includes familiarizing themselves with and abiding by any safety or security requirements pertaining to the use of communications systems and services.
2.4 Courtesy and politeness
Consumers should make reasonable decisions and actions in exercising their rights.
2.5 Genuine complaints
Consumers have a responsibility to lodge only legitimate complaints and claims.