** Update – The Consumer Protection Council indeed followed my complaint up with MTN. MTN has since refunded the airtime which they claim was deducted by the third party Value Added Service provider who subscribed me without my consent. MTN requested that anyone I know who has suffered something similar should contact them on 180. **
From time to time, I receive SMS notifications about some new service that I should subscribe to for X amount per day/week/month. Usually I just ignore them but recently I discovered that I have been automatically subscribed by the network operator (in this case MTN Nigeria) with a note that I can stop the deductions by texting a code to a particular number. Being a busy person, I did not take note of this until several deductions had been made,
The onus should not be on a customer to unsubscribe from a service that
a. he/she did not request
b. he/she is not interested in
c. he/she does not even make use of
This is plain stealing and I believe the regulators should
i. Ban this practice by network operators
ii. Place heavy fines on network operators that engage in this practice
iii. Get network operators to refund all such airtime that has been fraudulently deducted from customers.
If you’ve been affected by such fraudulent deductions, please join me in signing this petition at https://www.change.org/p/nigeria-communications-commission-ncc-mtn-nigeria-stop-network-operators-from-stealing-our-airtime-credits which will be followed by a paper petition to the NCC.
Once we have a handful of signatures that show I am not alone in this, I will head on to the regulator to demand reasonable penalties. Going forward, network operator reports should also include information about their so-called value added services and details on how many people opted in and how many were subscribed involuntarily. <- Thanks to my friend @OOTheNigerian for reminding me to point out the desired end.