Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

30 November 2012

Tanzania: Phone Firms Under Fire Over 'Adverts'

TELECOMMUNICATION companies came under fire over misleading advertisements that frustrate their customers.

Irked by the situation the Kinondoni District Commissioner, Mr Jordan Rugimbana, has called for stern legal action against the offending companies.

Mr Rugimbana said that it was high time Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) and other relevant authorities controlled the activities of the companies in order to ensure there is value for money.

Mr Rugimbana said that most of the time customers are flooded with text messages from telecommunication companies most of which are unwanted and are often misleading.

"You find that a customer receives a message demanding him to recharge his account with a promise that his credit would be doubled but nothing happens after recharging," he said. He added that some advertisements proclaim free mobile transaction while the reality is that they are charged.

The District Commissioner was giving his remarks during a telecommunication customer user's workshop to Kinondoni residents in Dar es Salaam yesterday. He said that some of the telecommunication companies offered poor services sometimes failing to respond when customers call asking for help.

"Sometimes a customer is arbitrarily charged in connection with services they never demanded. Customers subscribe automatically to services they do not need at all," he added. What makes things worse in the operations of these mobile phone companies is lack of seriousness in saving time, the DC says.

He is concerned that a customer is forced to listen to a piece of music that he or she may not need before he or she gets a reply. He cautioned also on the consequence of building communication towers near residential areas saying that residents are worried that maybe the towers may have a detrimental impact on their health.

He added that such residents may not be sure if there are permits from National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) and that the towers do not emit dangerous emissions. Mr Rugimbana showed concern over unregistered mobile phone numbers that remain in operation. He added that numbers are most likely to be used by criminals when planning their forays.

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