Senator Bam Aquino emphasized that transparency on the part of telecommunications companies is the first step to solving consumer complaints about disappearance of prepaid mobile loads or “nakaw load”.
During the hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology on the issue, Sen. Bam said that the immediate solution is for telcos to issue notifications to their subscribers when load is credited or deducted to their account.
“There was a clear solution presented during the hearing. Sa bawat load na pumasok at ibinawas sa atin, dapat may matatanggap na tayong libreng notification,” said Sen. Bam, who led the hearing as chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.
Sen. Bam said the notifications could help subscribers monitor their load spending and will allow them to immediately cancel services they do not wish to avail.
“Kapag may notification at nakita natin na hindi tama, may pagkakataon tayong magreklamo agad-agad at muling makuha ang load na ibinawas sa atin,” added Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam hopes that telecommunications companies should comply with the proposed solution, saying it’s a simple way to solve the long-standing problem of disappearing prepaid load.
“It’s a good solution at hindi rin iyan malaking gastos. Ang pinakamahalaga, alam natin kung saan napupunta ang ating pera,” Sen. Bam said.
Sen. Bam also urged telecommunication companies to conduct a complete audit of all their value-added subscriptions (VAS), to protect consumers against unwarranted deductions from their prepaid load.
One telco already admitted that they are looking to suspend some 3rd party providers of value-added services (VAS).
In the hearing, a resource person testified that clicking “X” on a pop-up resulted in an opt-in to an unwanted VAS.
“Mahalagang makasuhan ang VAS providers na nanloloko sa ating mga kababayan sa kanilang mapanlinlang na proseso sa pagpaparehistro,” added Sen. Bam.
The senator also welcomed one telco’s move for a system refresh that will opt-out all of their subscribers to all VAS subscriptions and, thereafter, implement a stricter procedure when availing of these extra services. Another telco promised to consider this move.
The lawmaker also called on concerned government agencies, such as the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), to get their acts together in addressing consumer complaints.
“Madalas nalilito ang ating mga kababayan kung saan napupunta ang kanilang load kaya kailangan nang ipatupad ang load notifications. Mahalaga rin na ibalik sa subscriber within 24 hours ang load deduction na ireklamo nila,” said Sen. Bam.
The hearing was called on Sen. Bam through Senate Resolution No. 595, directing the committee to determine the capacity and readiness of relevant government agencies and regulators to implement rules that will protect prepaid mobile subscribers.