ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

MTN fee hike could've been executed better, says consumer ombud

MTN has announced that their subscription fees will go up from the start of May due to “inflationary pressures”.

The increase will affect 50 various contract plans at an average of 4%, says consumer expert Wendy Knowler.

Knowler explains that a few of the plans won’t increase at all, while others may go up by more than 4%.

For example, the MTN 750 Top Up plan’s subscription will increase from R807 per month to R839 and the MTN 500 from R530 to R551 p/m.

There are a few contract plans that the subscription hike doesn't apply to.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

In addition to this, MTN will also increase itemised billing charges by 4% and caller-line identity fees by 4%.

Customers have spoken out against the decision by MTN to unilaterally increase these fees mid-contract.

Meanwhile, the network provider says it reserves the right to do so, as stated in the terms and conditions.

MTN says it’s in their Ts and Cs. It's number 16 in the current contract, to be exact. It reads: 'We may make changes to the Contract, the Charges, the Network Services and the Charge Limits by giving you(at least) 20 Business Days' notice in writing before we make a change.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

Knowler says MTN should have opted to implement the changes for new contracts only, not existing ones as well.

It creates a break in trust with customers to do this mid-contract.

Magauta Mphahlele, Ombudsman for Consumer Goods and Services

The Ombudsman for Consumer Goods and Services, Magauta Mphahlele, says consumer law stipulates that a service provider must give the customer the option to cancel their contract in such cases.

The ombud explains the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) allows consumers to cancel within 20 business days without any penalty.

Looking at the notice issued by MTN, it does not make reference to that consumer right.

Magauta Mphahlele, Ombudsman for Consumer Goods and Services

MTN should have explicitly stated in the notice to consumers that they do have the right to cancel.

Magauta Mphahlele, Ombudsman for Consumer Goods and Services

Mphahlele says MTN could have gone about introducing the subscription hike in a much better manner.

MTN’s communication executive Jacqui O’Sullivan was invited to respond on-air but was unavailable for the discussion.

Listen to the entire ConsumerTalk discussion on The Pippa Hudson Show:

Every Wednesday, on The Pippa Hudson Show, consumer expert Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : MTN fee hike could've been executed better, says consumer ombud


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