ICASA published End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Amendment Regulations (“the Regulations”) of which the purpose is to prescribe minimum standards for electronic communications services to end-users by licensees. Below is Vodacom’s consumer friendly version of the Regulations as it relates to an end-user.
Provision of information
Vodacom is required to provide an end-user with contract terms and conditions, and complaints handling procedure, at the point of sale.
Vodacom is required to provide an end-user with all the relevant information of the promotion, including;
• terms and conditions of the promotion, including eligibility and fair usage policies,
• duration of the promotion,
• obligation of the end-user at the expiry of the promotion, and
• all applicable fees associated with the promotion.
Vodacom is required to send a message to an end-user when roaming internationally with the following information;
• service care contract details,
• voicemail retrieval number and applicable rates,
• charges applicable to incoming and outgoing voice, data and SMS services, and
• a summary of the terms and conditions for roaming.
Upon activation, Vodacom must send to an end-user terms and conditions, including deposits, credit limits and tariffs in respect of international roaming. This information should also be easily accessible on Vodacom’s website.
Vodacom is required to provide a detailed itemised bill to a post-paid end-user upon request, which should include the following;
• bundled calls, specifying for each call the date, time duration, recipient number,
• calls incurring a charge, specifying for each call the charge, date, time duration, recipient number,
• bundled SMS, specifying for each SMS the date, time duration, recipient number,
• SMS’s incurring charges, specifying for each the charge, date, time duration, recipient number,
• in-bundle data, specifying for each data session the date, time, and total data used,
• out of bundle data, specifying for each data session the charge, date, time, and total data used,
• any additional charges, and
• the applicable billing period.
Vodacom is also required to provide a pre-paid end-user a usage report within 14 days of request, via e-mail or post in accordance with end-user’s request. Keep billing records for a minimum of three months.
Voice and SMS services
Vodacom is required to send all Pre-paid, Post-paid and Hybrid end-users usage depletion notifications at 50%, 80% and 100% of voice and SMS depletion. These notifications must not be in percentage form but must show units remaining. End-users must be able to opt-out of the usage notifications.
Vodacom must send these notifications to end-users who have monthly allocated voice and/or SMS units as well as end-users who bolt on voice and/or SMS bundles.
The notifications can be sent through any means i.e. via SMS, email etc.
Option to buy additional services and disconnection
Vodacom is required to provide its Post-paid end-users with an option to buy additional voice and SMS services at any time. This applies to Post-paid end-users who receive monthly allocated voice and SMS units in order to manage their out of bundle spend.
A end-user who is on a Post-paid and Hybrid tariff plan who does not buy additional voice services or SMS services, must be allowed to opt-out of accessing the relevant depleted services (the voice and/or the SMS service) and allow such end-user to access emergency services, end-user care services, and incoming calls, incoming SMSs and any other free services.
Vodacom is required to send all Pre-paid, Post-paid and Hybrid end-users usage depletion notifications at 50%, 80% and 100% of data depletion. These notifications must not be in percentage form but must show units remaining. End-users must be able to opt-out of the usage notifications.
Vodacom must send these notifications to end-users who have monthly allocated data bundles as well as end-users who bolt on data bundles.
The notifications can be sent through any means i.e. via SMS, email etc.
Option to buy additional data bundles
Vodacom is required to provide its Pre-paid, Hybrid and Post-paid end-users with an option to buy additional data bundles at any time.
Vodacom is required to obtain consent from all end-users (i.e. to opt-in) for out-of-bundle data usage before permitting any out-of-bundle data usage by an end-user. Where an end-user has not consented to out-of-bundle data usage, Vodacom will terminate the end-user’s data session when the end-user has depleted their data bundle.
Roll over of unused data and transfer of data
Vodacom is required provide all Pre-paid, Hybrid and Post-paid end-users with an option to roll over unused data before it expires. Where an end-user has elected to roll over any unused data, Vodacom must first apply usage against the rolled over data until that data is fully depleted, and thereafter apply usage against the newly allocated data. This applies to monthly allocated bundles and bolt-on bundles.
Vodacom is allowed to determine the business rules (including terms and conditions) relating to the roll-over of unused data.
Vodacom must provide all Pre-paid, Hybrid and Post-paid end-users with an option to transfer unused data before it expires to other end-users on the Vodacom’s network. This applies to monthly allocated bundles and bolt-on bundles.
Vodacom is allowed to determine the business rules (including terms and conditions) on the exercise of this option.
Consumer education and awareness
Vodacom must conduct four educational awareness campaigns aimed at:
• educating end-users on the use of smart phones;
• educating end-user on how to use data; and
• educating end-users on a broad range of products and services offered
Vodacom is required to notify an end-user via SMS and its website seven days before, and a day before planned interruptions that may result due to service or system upgrades.
Vodacom is required to designate and publicise a point of entry for complaints to be lodged by an end-user. The complaints handling procedure to be available on;
• display boards at the licensee or argent’s service outlets;
• on the invoices for post-paid end-users, and
• alternate platforms available to pre-paid end-users.
Vodacom is required to acknowledge complaints from an end-user within forty eight hours. [Note: A matter will be registered as a complaint - assign and communicate a reference number to the end-end-user - if unable to resolve it at the first layer of end-user support, and matter is referred to second layer end-user support for resolution]
An end-user is entitled to a rebate if she/he has not received services in terms of a contract entered into with Vodacom to which payment has already been effected for the services. The Rebate is limited to the days of service lost prorated against the end-user’s subscription, and only payable if applicable terms and conditions are met.
Vodacom is required to provide for a mobile service a reconnect service to an end-user for dropped calls, at no additional cost.
Service care line centre
Vodacom is required to provide an end-user care service. Calls to service line centre must be at no cost to an end-user, provided for in as many languages as practical, and answered within three minutes on average.
Vodacom is required to provide accessibility to these services by persons with disabilities.
Impossibility of performance
In an event where Vodacom is unable to provide an end-user with services due to circumstances beyond its control for a period of more than two hours, it must, as soon it becomes aware of the outage, issue a public notice to effected end-users. The notice should indicate the expected timeframes within which an end-user should expect the service to be restored.