Basic consumer rights and obligations of consumers of communication services

The Right to Access basic communication services

It is a fundamental human right for a consumer to have access to basic communications services at reasonable prices. Government and subsequently UCC have a responsibility to ensure that services are made available to all persons by adopting the right policies and that licences issued provide a necessary roll out of services to all underserved areas and populations.

The Right to full pre-contractual Information

A consumer has a right to complete pre-contractual information that is clear (understandable), helpful. Adequate and accurate on the services and choices offered by a Service Provider /operator to facilitate making an informed choice.

Such information should include a specification of what is and is not included in the price quoted as well as a clear statement on the quality of service to be provided. UCC has made it a requirement on all service providers/operators that these conditions of the contract be contained in a service level agreement that should be presented to each customer before the customer utilises the service provider’s/operator’s services.

Consumers have the right to receive information to assist them in the use of services. Consumers have a right to have access to sector governing information. The information referred to in this case is information on issues such as governing policies and legislation as these affect the end service available to the consumers.

Consumers have a right to have comparative information. This information is provided to assist them in making choices between different service providers/operators, services and equipment.

The Right to receive a service at Quality that reflects the cost

Consumers have a right to receive a service with a quality that reflects the cost of the service. UCC has developed service quality guidelines that are required for each of the respective service providers/operators.

Consumers have a right to receive the level of quality of service that is quoted or stated by the service provider/operator in the service agreement. It has already been pointed out that the standard of service associated with the quoted prices/charges should be made available to the customer before the use of services.

The Right to Fair treatment without undue discrimination

A consumer has a right to fair treatment without undue, discrimination from another consumer. Such discrimination can take the form of denial of access to services or provision of different quality of service to different customers paying the same amount of money.

UCC requires that denial of access to services provided by an operator/service provider should only be due to the delinquency of payment of dues or for noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the service provider’s/operator’s Service Agreement or any other just cause. This fairness right is also extended to consider fair treatment among groups of consumers,

Consumers have a right to fair terms of service. This looks at the terms and conditions stipulated by the service provider/operator in the service agreements as the basis of providing service. These should be fair in expectations as well as requirements.

The Right to Complain about quality, delays, quantity and tariffs

A consumer has a right to complain about quality, delay, quantity and tariff with regard to the nature of the communication service provided. A consumer is expected to utilise or consume services knowing on what terms the service is being offered. If these terms are not met, a consumer can complain.

The Right to an effective Redress mechanism

A consumer has a right to an effective system for handling of complaints. Each service provider/operator is required by UCC to set up an arrangement of resolving questions regarding services and conflicts with customers. If a complaint is not resolved satisfactorily by the service provider/operator, the consumer can advance his/her complaint to UCC.

The Right to be provided services that are Safe and secure

Consumers have a right to be provided with services that are safe and secure. A service provider/operator must ensure that all his/her equipment meets health safety requirements before use by consumers and should regularly be checked to maintain this safety. Any known health risks should be communicated to any intending or existing customer. The use of the facilities or services provided should not leave a consumer at any risk whether health or otherwise unless such risk is a result of malpractice on the part of the consumer.

The Right to Privacy

Every consumer has a right to privacy. UCC has placed a confidentiality requirement on service providers/operators to ensure that they maintain the confidentiality of the content of all communications, whether data or voice information that the service provider/operator may obtain as a result of serving a customer. This cannot be disclosed to any third party without the Commission’s written, consent or by order of a competent court of law.

The Right to be educated on services being offered

Consumers have a right to be educated on services being provided to them. This education is necessary to provide them with knowledge and skills that enable them to be informed, consumers.

The Right to a Notification of Termination of Service

Consumers have the right to a notification of termination of service particularly that of an essential service or Internet access. UCC requires that the national operator and public service providers of services such as Internet access service to provide prior notification to the customers and the general public of an intention to cease providing a service.

The Right to Representation

Consumers have a right to make representations to those delivering, regulating or governing the communications services on matters about the services offered to them and other consumer preferences. It is for this reason that UCC regularly engages in public consultations, inviting comments/input from the public.

The Right to access Billing Information

Consumers have a right to access billing information; When a consumer is not happy with their bills, they can following up with the service provider/operator to discuss the details of their bill.


You have an obligation to Promptly pay your Bills

Consumers have an obligation to pay all their bills and clear these when they are due.

You have an obligation to protect the Environment

Each consumer has a responsibility of ensuring that their utilisation or consumption of communication services is not in a manner hazardous to the environment. The environment is the responsibility of every individual on the planet. As an example of this responsibility, a consumer should ensure that wraps and scratch cards are disposed of safely or appropriately.

You have an obligation to be Aware

It is the responsibility of the consumer to be alert and to question issues such as terms and conditions of service. Consumers should know their rights and obligation as well as finding out the other information available to them.

You have an obligation to be Assertive and take Action

A consumer has an obligation to be assertive to ensure that they and other users of the service(s) receive a fair deal. It is wrong for a consumer to notice a weakness in service received or in the sector and remain silent about it.

You have an obligation to Protection communication facilities

A consumer has a responsibility to protect all communication equipment and facilities within their vicinity.


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