Safaricom, Airtel Could Soon Pay Fines for Delaying Customer Care Calls
Kevin Namunwa  |  Sep 14, 2020

Telecommunications companies in Kenya could face regulatory fines if they take more than 15 seconds to answer customer care calls if the new draft regulations are approved.

Published last week, the proposal will allow the regulator to fine telecoms providers Ksh 300,000 for every breach or a jail term of up to three years.

The regulator, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), seeks to protect consumers making inquiries and complaints from being put on the call queue for more than 15 seconds.

Currently, calls to mobile telephony customer services take an average of two minutes forcing many customers to hang up in frustration. The draft regulations are an upgrade from the current regulations, which compel firms to set up customer service call systems without specifying call queue timelines.

“This includes the hold time where Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is used for the management of call queues,” the regulator has said about the 15-second rule.

The draft regulations seek the firms’ customer service to be available at all times, 99.9% at the minimum, and resolution to a customer complaint inside 14 days.

If approved, telcos will face up to Sh300,000 fine in line with Section 27 of the Kenya Information and Communications Act 1998 that empowers the CA to make regulations for telecoms services.

“Any person who contravenes any regulation made under this section commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh300,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both,” states the Act.

Kenyan telcos have a tendency to keep the customer waiting for a long time, in most instances using the time to advertise some of its products and services. These telcos, including Safaricom and Airtel, may soon be paying fines for this.

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