Categorized | National News

URCA Wants Better Customer Service -BTC, Cable Bahamas to be held to Standards

Officials at the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) said they are concerned about the shoddy service most Bahamians have had to deal with from utility service providers and are in the process of rolling out a standard for customer protection measures.

From dropped calls, shoddy cable service and poor customer relations, URCA Director of Policy and Regulation Stephen Bereaux said the complaints from Bahamian consumers are too frequent and added that the regulation company is concerned about how companies like Cable Bahamas and the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) are treating their customers.

Mr. Bereaux said last year the telecommunications regulation watchdog began work on a comprehensive regulatory approach designed to address these issues.

“We are concerned that better service can be provided by the service providers in The Bahamas,” he said.

“But also we are concerned that it’s not there already and that we don’t have in place a set of clear guidelines so that when a matter is raised, whether in the public consultation or with URCA, it is clear whether the service provider is doing what they are meant to do or not.

“What we want to do is make sure that we at least meet best practice standards that are acceptable anywhere and that hopefully your operators exceed those expectations through completion or otherwise.”

Mr. Bereaux said URCA plans to launch its consultation on a set of customer protection measures, which will ensure that a clear set of rules and regulations are in place to govern the manner in which these companies treat their customers in the electronic communications sector.

“A snapshot of some of the issues to be addressed in this initiative includes customer contracts and sales issues; fault repair and service interruptions; truthfulness in advertising; minimum standards of service and customer compensation requirements; billing credit and debt management which will include matters such as the format of bills, accuracy of charges, timelines for issuance of bills, payment terms and restriction suspension and disconnection of service for non-payment; protection of consumer information and customer’s obligation to the service provider.”

The URCA official added that as it did while considering Cable Bahamas Limited’s proposal for a price hike, the organisation plans to reach out to the consumers to find out what changes they want to see made via public consultation sessions.

But in addition to tougher customer protection laws, URCA also plans to roll out a quality of service standards this year that will apply to all communications licensees.

“This will put in place standards for matters such as network wide basis,” he added. “URCA intends to put in place standards which must be compiled with by the operators failing which sanctions will be imposed by URCA and also to require the publication of these statistics for each network operator so that consumers would be aware of the quality of the network performance by each operator on an ongoing basis.”

URCA said it wants to ensure that customer service is a must.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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