The bane of mobile phones users in the sudden loss of their top up credits or the ‘nakaw load’ will soon end with the proposed bill of Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo to bar telecommunications companies from imposing expiry dates on load credits.
Prepaid credit expiry is a form of robbery of consumers since the phone services are already paid for in advance.
Castelo said that prepaid credit expiry is a form of robbery of consumers since the phone services are already paid for in advance and thus mobile phone users subjected to the limit in the use of their credits do not get the full value of the money they spent.
Mobile phone users subjected to the limit in the use of their credits do not get the full value of the money they spent.
Castelo filed House bill 5109 or “An Act Prohibiting Telecommunication Companies from Imposing Expiry Dates on Mobile Prepaid Call and Text Cards and the Forfeiture of Load Credits” to stop the unfair practice afflicting consumers.
The Prepaid Load Protection Act penalizes officials of telecommunications firms of up to P500,000 and six years of detention aside from the revocation of the license of the firm for violation of the proposed law.
“This practice of giant telcos also deprives consumers of freedom of choice in using their prepaid telecommunications services,” Castelo added.
“Telecommunications companies have been reaping huge profit from Filipino mobile phones users who are the most prolific texters in the world to earn from the almost 1 billion text messages a day that made the Philippines the “texting capital of the world” and imposing a time limit on the use of credits is the height of corporate greed since it forces consumers to buy a bigger amount just to have a longer expiration date,” Castelo said.
Prepaid load expiry forces consumers to buy a bigger amount just to have a longer expiration date.
He noted that more than half of the population subscribes to mobile services, with a 116 percent penetration rate, and more than 90% percent of mobile subscribers are prepaid users.
The bill seeks to prohibit the imposition of an expiration period on the validity of unused prepaid call and text cards, forfeiture of load credits stored in an active prepaid phone account via prepaid call and text card, and refusal to give a refund to prepaid subscribers whose load credits were forfeited without any valid cause.
Castelo said he can’t accept explanations of telecommunications firms that it would be technologically difficult to provide credits which do not have an expiry date since these firms have devised more sophisticated technologies to increase their profit line.
The government has required telcos for a one-year validity of credits worth P300 or more which Castelo said still discriminates against the poor who can only afford less prepaid loads.
The bill seeks to cure this inequality by mandating the removal of the expiry period.