Phone firms told to amend contracts

2011-07-18 07:27

Johannesburg - South Africa's four primary cellular network operators and two fixed-line providers will have new customer contracts that are compliant with the Consumer Protection Act in place within the next three months, according to Business Report on Monday.

This came as national consumer commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala prepared to sign consent order agreements this week with each of the companies. These agreements are legally binding and a fine of R1m or 10% of annual turnover could be imposed if they are breached.

Mohlala said that over the past two weeks the commission had reviewed all contracts provided by the individual companies and none of the contracts were compliant with the act. This, despite the fact that it had been in the pipeline for the past five years and its implementation was postponed from September last year to April this year.

She said that in most cases about 75% of the cellphone contract terms and conditions would have to change.

Companies would have to change their billing systems, marketing approach and their staff would have to be educated and more skilled, which would require more spending on human resources, she said.

"There is nothing untoward… we are aligning South Africa with international best practice."

Mohlala said Cell C, Telkom [JSE:TKG] and 8.ta would have their contracts amended by the end of September, Neotel by next month and MTN Group [JSE:MTN] and Vodacom both expected to have amended their contracts by the end of October.

  • Welleducated - 2011-07-18 08:08

    I am the consumer should be happy, BUT look at the fine print "This is going to cost us more". The CPA is actually very bad for everyone if we put it into perspective. It open up the flood gates to abuse by the criminally minded more than the actual consumer.

  • Watcher - 2011-07-18 08:31

    The next group to look at are people like the ISP's who also have similar untoward clauses in their contracts. You have 2 Gig per month, if you have 500 mb at the end of the month it carries over for the next month only. So if in month 3 you use 2,5 gig they will bill you for the extra 500 mb usage although they have not allowed for the 500 mb that was not used the month before.

  • Obama - 2011-07-18 08:47

    Finally!!! Hope the new contracts will be a lot better to get out of...

      Ruff-ian - 2011-07-18 14:01


  • nickwes - 2011-07-18 09:08

    More costs passed onto us the consumer then.

  • Hardegat - 2011-07-18 09:09

    SOut hAFrica's cellular networks are among the best in the world. Surely aligning them with the rest would be a step backward?

      Antoinette - 2011-07-18 11:30

      Our networks are the best.......our contracts, not so much.

      mikedek - 2011-07-18 15:42

      From which planet are you from or have you just returned from a lengthy visit abroad. just visit the "Hello Peter" site to view the worst liked companies and who are in the first two positions?

  • deleagagu - 2011-07-18 09:14

    "South Africa's four primary cellular network operators and two fixed-line providers will have new customer contracts that are compliant with the Consumer Protection Act in place" - what a does that mean??

  • Tigeristhema - 2011-07-18 10:10

    It's about time, what a bunch of criminals these guys are.

  • Charles N - 2011-07-18 10:56

    The companies have had time to get these in place. Why are they not being fined for not having the contracts in place already?

      vercotti - 2011-07-18 13:01

      @ Charles N Lined some official's pockets. Corporations = Politics

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