THE Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the National Telecommunication Regulatory Commissions (NTRCs) yesterday joined with the rest of the world in observing World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD).
ECTEL said WCRD is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected and a chance to protest against the market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.
It said: “The inspiration for WCRD came from US President John F Kennedy who gave an address to the US Congress on March 15, 1962 in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so and since then the consumer movement marks the date every year as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights. The first WCRD was observedon March 15, 1983 and has since become an important occasion for mobilizing citizen action”.
Noting that consumers have become a major focus of the work of ECTEL and the NTRCs, Managing Director Embert Charles said that: “for an empowered and protected consumer who will benefit from the innovations in ICT and use innovation for personal and community development, there must be a programme of responsible use”.
According to Charles, ECTEL has pioneered new consumer protection regulations which when enacted, will provide stronger safeguards for consumers.
He said: “In these new proposed regulations customers have rights to clear and accurate information about service offers and advertised products, contracts must be presented in a manner which we can all read and understand.
“The new consumer protection regulation also puts obligations on operators to provide the same quality of service to citizens, irrespective of where you live”.
ECTEL is using the opportunity on WCRD to launch a customer survey which will be used in part as the basis for the development of a long term programme for consumer education and awareness in Member States.
This year, the theme for World Consumer Rights Day is- “Building a digital world consumers can trust.”