Potraz release consumer protection guidelines

Potraz release consumer protection guidelines
Published: 12 September 2013
THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe has released the Consumer Protection Guidelines draft which will assist consumers and service providers providing communication services in Zimbabwe to understand their rights and obligations when buying or selling communication services.

According to Potraz, this set of guidelines has been availed and is currently circulating to solicit for public opinion on the document.

The responses will be tabled for discussion at a consultative workshop to be conducted in Harare on September 18. Potraz said that they produced the draft as part of its consumer protection framework.

"In line with its mandate to promote the interests of consumers, purchasers and other users in respect of the quality and variety of postal and telecommunications services provided and telecommunications apparatus supplied, as provided for in the Postal and Telecommunications Act (produced the document part of its mandate under the Postal and Telecommunications Act (Chapter 12:05).

"These guidelines are not a law but are intended to guide consumers and service providers in best practice consumer relations.

However, Potraz may determine to issue binding regulations in the form of regulatory notices, circulars and directives if it deems that consumer protection is not satisfactorily attained and maintained," said Potraz in the CPG draft accessed on their website.

The initiative by Potraz has implications on the business procedures and strategies the telecommunication companies will take from now onwards and the kind of service customers will be receiving from them.

The guidelines cover mainly issues of customer care, tariffs, payments, customer contracts, telemarketing, charges, protection and privacy.

This would mean that the companies need to improve their customer care services to meet the outlined guidelines and to implement a more informative approach to customers when intending to implement any plan related to the guidelines.

The guidelines mainly enforce customer protection which greatly benefit the customers however the initiative may have negative implications on telecommunication business if not accurately addressed.

The guidelines require a new protocol procedure when dealing with the issues in line with the guidelines.

And this may be a bottleneck to telecommunication companies in that the introduced of a new channel or procedure to be followed may delay implementation of initiatives and plans and some initiatives may become irrelevant if their implementation is delayed.

Therefore the companies need to formulate strategies that incorporate the guidelines so as to promote efficiency.

On the whole this is a positive approach for the telecommunication sector as a whole.

- herald
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