Zimbabwe: Backlash! Customers Rebel Against Econet Promo

10 October 2019

In a development that could redefine the relationship between consumers and various service providers, Econet subscribers made an unprecedented uproar against unsolicited messages from the company advertising its newest product, the Sasai App.

Sasai is a chat and payments application seen by technology enthusiasts as a challenge to the dominance of WhatsApp in Africa.

It had always been assumed as part of terms and conditions (T&Cs) that mobile phone service providers send messages promoting products and services -- and there were no complaints -- at least not in a deluge, but yesterday customers rediscovered their voice.

Vincent Kahiya turned to Twitter and wrote: "Dear @econetzimbabwe @econet_support. Please don't irritate me with this stuff. Who told you that these are my friends? I did not sign up for this".

Another Twitter user, @Te_Madd said: "@econetzimbabwe and @econet_support, same. Pliz (please) stop clogging my inbox."

Econet Customer Care responded to @Te_Madd saying, "thank you for contacting us and our apologies for the SMS influx. Please note that we are still investigating the issue. TBD."

The company also directed @SASAiAfrica to "kindly investigate and assist", the query raised by Kahiya.

But Magatshana Dingilizwe Ntuli fired back at Econet and Sasai saying: "There's nothing to investigate here, this is deliberate and fatally annoying."

Stephen Tsekea said the messages were "so irritating".

"I am also receiving the stuff. So boring. I don't even know what Sasai is. Why not explain first," said Tsekea.

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe turned to Twitter to respond to subscriber concerns.

"We have taken note of the numerous complaints and views from consumers on the continuous receipt of the SASAI SMS," it said.

"We are engaging the service provider and will communicate further developments."

But Fred G. Sanford replied to the Potraz message saying: "I doubt if Potraz ever takes any action. Complaints about overcharging #Ecocash agents have gone on for years . . ."

Econet public relations manager Mr Fungai Mandiveyi didn't answer his mobile phone last night when contacted for comment.

He had not responded to questions sent via WhatsApp by the time of going to print.

Econet has been under fire from concerned citizens in the recent past over the behaviour of EcoCash agents who have been selling physical notes and coins at 60 percent, in the process, ripping people of their hard-earned cash.

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