PURA ORDERS AFRICELL TO RETURN CUSTOMERS MONIES AMID ALLEGATION OF DATA THEFT!

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The Gambia Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has ordered the privately-owned cellular phone company Africell to refund monies it collected from customers amid allegations that the company had overcharged its customers in its newly introduced 4G unlimited data bundle package, Freedom Newspaper can report. “PURA received numerous complaints from aggrieved subscribers pertaining to the unilateral decision by AFRICELL (G) Ltd to change its unlimited bundle offering. The Authority notes with significant concern that the decision from AFRICELL violates the notification principles attached to all tariff changes and package offers,” a press release issued by PURA read.

In ensuring that sanity prevails in the market and in the interest of ensuring consumers are adequately protected against such unfair practices, said the statement, AFRICELL (G) Ltd, has been directed by PURA to immediately institute the following remedial measures.

“Submit the complete list of affected numbers to the Authority by the 12th February 2020; Process mandatory “cash” refunds to all subscribers that subscribed to the “unlimited data package” from the 1st January 2020 up to February 11th, 2020. Alternatively, affected subscribers can also opt for e-refunds. These refunds are to be done in full. Dedicate customer care staff towards ensuring all refunds are processed within two weeks; Send Broadcast messages to the affected subscribers,” said the regulatory body.

Below is the PURA press release:
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PURA received numerous complaints from aggrieved subscribers pertaining to the unilateral decision by AFRICELL (G) Ltd to change its unlimited bundle offering. The Authority notes with significant concern that the decision from AFRICELL violates the notification principles attached to all tariff changes and package offers.

In ensuring that sanity prevails in the market and in the interest of ensuring consumers are adequately protected against such unfair practices, AFRICELL (G) Ltd was directed by PURA to immediately institute the following remedial measures:

i. Submit the complete list of affected numbers to the Authority by the 12th February 2020;
ii. Process mandatory “cash” refunds to all subscribers that subscribed to the “unlimited data package” from the 1st January 2020 up to February 11th, 2020.
Alternatively, affected subscribers can also opt for e-refunds. These refunds are to be done in full.
iii. Dedicate customer care staff towards ensuring all refunds are processed within two weeks;
iv. Send Broadcast messages to the affected subscribers.
In addition, affected subscribers who have not been refunded by the 26th February 2020 are kindly requested to inform PURA through its 148 toll-free hotline. Transactional screenshots and e-receipts may also be sent via e-mail to [email protected] / [email protected] with subject line “AFRICELL UNLIMITED PACKGAGE REFUND”.

The Authority will monitor adherence to the listed conditions and should there be any breach, enforcement action shall be taken in accordance with the Authority’s enforcement regulations, 2010.

The Authority wishes to assure the general public that issues pertaining to consumer welfare are treated with utmost priority to ensure ALL service providers adhere to the terms and conditions of their engagement in the sector. Furthermore, PURA has never and will not condone activities by licensed entities that will bring the Authority’s name into disrepute.

PURA, working towards equity in development through professionalism and partnership.
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