Tuesday, 10 November 2009

CONSUMER PROTECTION - MEETING THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE CONNECTED

Moderator: Mr. C. Cheah, Deputy Chair, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Australia

Interactive panel discussion:

  • Educated ICT consumers call for clear information on what they get for their money: are market players playing the game?


  • Protecting the rights of the 21st Century consumer: privacy and online protection issues


  • Strengthening ICT consumers’ rights and empowering consumers


Panelists:

  • Ms. M. Ajam, Board Member and Head of Information and Consumer Affairs Unit, TRA, Lebanon


  • Mr. D. Gross, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP


  • Mr. Md. Mahbubor Rahman, Commissioner, Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC), Bangladesh


  • Mr. C. Njoroge, Director General, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), Kenya
      

mr. Njoroge: The biggest challenge to regulators in developing nations is the underdevelopment of the nation. For instance how do you warn for scams if your population can't read or write.
ms. Ajam: Consumer Affairs regulation is important in our country. It takes quite a while to be agreed in parliament, but we're almost ready. We're also launching a code of practice on Value Added Services. We work on customer complaints as well. We're working with the Ministry of Trade to create a synergy with the general consumer fair trade organisation. They already had a hotline and we worked with them on the problems they encountered with telecom operators. We're hesitating to launch a national campaign until the new consumer laws are in force. But if they are next year, we will start this campaign.
mr. Gross: Talks about the situation in the USA. The USA has a very difficult legaslative situation with regards to consumer protection. Everyone tries to balance the interests of the consumers with the interests of others. Competition is best to serve consumer protection. Doesn't believe that the complaints are rising as quickly as the amount of subscriber. Only 3 per million mobile subs complain to the FCC and 7 per 1 million wireline subs complain the to the FCC. He praises the telecom industry for its efforts to protect consumers. (I wonder who is normally paying his fee, it can't be consumer advocacy groups)
mr. Rahman: Explains all the laws regarding consumer protection in Bangladesh.

Question from the floor weren't really interesting or wildly exciting. yes you need to protect the customer. Competition helps. Tunisia just checks all offers to consumers before they get on the market , to see if they aren't too difficult for consumers.

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