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TELCOS MUST BE TRANSPARENT IN CHARGING PREPAID MOBILE SUBSCRIBERS – AQUINO

Senator Bam Aquino emphasized that transparency on the part of telecommunications companies is the first step to solving consumer complaints about the disappearance of prepaid mobile loads or “nakaw load”.

During the hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology on the issue, Aquino said that the immediate solution is for telcos to issue notifications to their subscribers when load is credited or deducted to their account.

“There was a clear solution presented during the hearing. Sa bawat load na pumasok at ibinawas sa atin, dapat may matatanggap na tayong libreng notification,” the legislator said.

The lawmaker, who led the hearing as chairman of the committee, said the notifications could help subscribers monitor their load spending and will allow them to immediately cancel services they do not wish to avail.

The notifications could help subscribers monitor their load spending and will allow them to immediately cancel services they do not wish to avail.

“Kapag may notification at nakita natin na hindi tama, may pagkakataon tayong magreklamo agad-agad at muling makuha ang load na ibinawas sa atin,” the youthful senator said.

Aquino hopes that telecommunications companies should comply with the proposed solution, saying it’s a simple way to solve the long-standing problem of disappearing prepaid loads.

“It’s a good solution at hindi rin ‘yan malaking gastos. Ang pinakamahalaga, alam natin kung saan napupunta ang ating pera,” he said.

Aquino also urged telecommunication companies to conduct a complete audit of all their value-added subscriptions (VAS) to protect consumers against unwarranted deductions from their prepaid load.

One telco already admitted that they are looking to suspend some third party providers of VAS. A resource person has testified that clicking “X” on a pop-up resulted in an opt-in to an unwanted VAS.

“Mahalagang makasuhan ang VAS providers na nanloloko sa ating mga kababayan sa kanilang mapanlinlang na proseso sa pagpaparehistro,” he noted.

Aquino also welcomed one telco’s move for a system refresh that will opt-out all of their subscribers to all VAS subscriptions and, thereafter, implement a stricter procedure when availing of these extra services. Another telco promised to consider this move.

He also called on concerned government agencies, such as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), to get their act together in addressing consumer complaints.

“Madalas nalilito ang ating mga kababayan kung saan napupunta ang kanilang load kaya kailangan nang ipatupad ang load notifications. Mahalaga rin na ibalik sa subscriber within 24 hours ang load deduction na inireklamo nila,” Aquino said.

The hearing was called through Senate Resolution No. 595, directing the committee to determine the capacity and readiness of relevant government agencies and regulators to implement rules that will protect prepaid mobile subscribers.

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