Potraz intensifies consumer protection

HARARE - The Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has intensified its efforts to fight against the abuse of customer’s rights and privileges by telecommunication companies.

Potraz deputy director-general Alfred Marisa said consumers of telecommunications services deserve to get value for their money and be treated as very important stakeholders in the scheme of things as far as service delivery is concerned.

“Issues of consumer protection are critical and an issue of priority.

We will escalate our efforts in educating consumers about their rights,” he told delegates attending the Zimbabwe Internet Governance Forum (ZIGF) in Harare yesterday.

“As a regulator we will continue to mitigate all side effects of the Internet guided by the Postal and Telecommunications Act as well as Statutory Instrument 262 of 2001,” he added.

This comes as the telecommunications regulator is carrying out consumer awareness campaigns throughout the country.

The objective of the campaign is to engage, empower, educate and inform the consumers about their rights and responsibilities, opportunities and solutions that are available in the industry.

The essence of this is also to reassure the consumers that the issue of protecting them from unfair practices is no mere talk.

Some of the many issues that consumers need to be insulated against include poor reception, wrong billings and deductions and automatic roll over among other things.

Consumer education has been identified by telecommunications regulators globally as one of the most cost effective mechanism that provides and guarantees consumer protection.

Besides serving as a pro-active way of protecting consumers from making wrong choices, it also serves as a preventive measure that protect consumers from being exploited and against fraud.

ZIGF chairperson Gilford Hapanyengwi thanked the regulator for rolling out interactive forums like this and encouraged sustained efforts on regulating Internet.

“We must foster and influence proper governance on the Internet because it is ownerless and is open to abuse,” he said.