The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it has uncovered large volume of forceful and illegal deductions by Network providers and has put all necessary plans in place to get operators make refunds to consumers.
“As a consumer-centric regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission has noted with great displeasure the unacceptably high level of consumer complaints in respect of forceful subscriptions to Value-Added Services (VAS), as well as airtime deductions for these subscriptions,” it said in a statement yesterday.
Recall the Commission had mandated several initiatives to tackle the menace of forceful deduction. These initiatives include the institution of a comprehensive investigation and resolution process, the Do-not-Disturb (DND) facility and the imposition of sanctions for breach.
Despite these measures, the menace persist, forcing the Commission to carry out a long and comprehensive investigative audit into VAS subscriptions across all MNO and VAS platforms. The investigative audit, according to NCC was led by the Compliance Monitoring & Enforcement Department of the Commission, with participation from its other Departments such as the Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI), Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), Legal & Regulatory Services (LRS), and Licensing & Authorisation (L&A).
The Audit Team analyzed subscribers’ Call Detail Records from MNOs and subscription logs from VAS providers over a period of two years, leading to the conclusion that a huge percentage of VAS services were not voluntarily subscribed to. The audit team also found that some providers had implemented disingenuous mechanisms by which large numbers of innocent consumers were “forcefully” subscribed to VAS platforms, leading to regular deduction of their airtime without their consent.
“We wish to use this opportunity to inform the general public that the Commission may suspend or outrightly decommission some VAS platforms and services in the overall interests of consumers. We assure consumers that these measures will be implemented with minimal inconvenience to them, and trust that we can count on the understanding of consumers who may be affected by these measures,” it added.