Saturday, 15 March, 2014 marks World Consumer Rights Day. The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is an annual event celebrated all over the world by Consumer Organizations on every March 15, with the purpose of sensitizing consumers on their basic rights and their responsibilities. WCRD was established in 1983 to promote the basic rights of consumers worldwide. The theme for this year?s celebration is ?Fix Our Phone Rights!?
This year’s theme, ?Fix Our Phone Rights!? ?is timely for various reasons. 2013 statistics indicate that 6.8 billion people use mobile phones. This is represents 94.3% of the world’s population. Mobile Phones are helping facilitate e-transactions, e-learning, staying connected, etc.? It would appear mobile phones are now a necessity rather than a luxury as it seemed a few years ago. Consumers International (CI), the global voice of consumers asks some crucial questions in light of the above developments.
a. What sort of services are mobile phone consumers receiving?
b. Are they being treated fairly??
The 2014 World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) campaign ?Fix Our Phone Rights!? is therefore devoted to tackling the issues that most affect consumers of mobile services.
As a member of Consumers International, the Consumer Advocacy Centre, Ghana (CAC) is marking this year?s WCRD under the sub theme: “Our Phone Rights in Focus: Addressing the multi-faceted challenge of Security, Affordability, Transparency and Reliability”.
Given that the mobile phone voice subscriber base in Ghana is 28,026,482, a penetration rate of 107%; and mobile data subscription is 10,323,941, a penetration rate of 39.5% (December 2013, NCA);? this year’s theme is reflective of the general talking points concerning mobile phone services in Ghana; erratic network signals, lack of transparent billing charges, high call and data charges, abuse of consumer information, etc. The mobile services sector is fraught with incalculable complaints, which usually ends on the backburner. This phenomenon is unacceptable!
The CAC’s broad objective therefore for the 2014 World Consumer Rights Day is to develop and strengthen practical consumer protection codes in the mobile services sector.
Pursuant to this objective, the Consumer Advocacy Centre will be holding a stakeholders forum on Saturday, 15th March, 2013 to commence series of activities aimed at getting the consumer to procure optimal mobile phone service(s). Participants will be drawn from Mobile Service Providers, the National Communications Authority, National Media Commission, Cyber Crime Unit, Ministry of Communications, Media, et al.
?Together we can accelerate genuine transparency, affordability, security and reliability of mobile phone services in Ghana.
Prof. Goski Alabi (DBA)