Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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New consumer rights initiative from TATT
In response to the numerous complaints it receives from consumers about telecommunications and broadcasting services, the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT) has embarked on a programme to ensure there is better consumer protection. So said Pamella Benson, chairman of TATT’s Consumer Complaints Committee. “This year 2014 TATT is celebrating its 10th anniversary and within the last ten years of operation we have received and acted upon approximately 500,000 complaints from consumers of various services and embarked upon a number of consumer protection initiatives. “In spite of this it is evident that consumers of telecommunications and broadcasting services in T&T are not empowered as they ought to be to manage some issues regarding their services,” Benson said at the launch of TATT’s consumer advocacy initiative at its Barataria headquarters on Tuesday.
She said TATT has placed these concerns high on its agenda leading up to finalisation of a strategic plan for 2013 to 2016. “Right now TATT is reviewing the current and new Telecommunications Quality of Service Standards, finalizing a quality of service framework and amending the Telecommunications Act to ensure, among other things, enforcement to consumers,” she said. Benson quoted from TATT's 2012 Annual Market Report which showed that at that time there were 286,000 fixed lines, 1.9 million mobile phones, 646,000 internet subscriptions and 198,000 television subscriptions. “In such a vibrant environment there will no doubt be lapses by service providers to the detriment of consumers who will always be the first to be aware,” Benson said, adding that protection of consumer rights must be tripartite and TATT is taking this into account as it strives to protect consumers' rights. “The regulator, the provider and the consumer are important. In launching this initiative TATT has underscored the critical importance of the collective voice of the consumer,” she said.