Service providers lax on complaints, CFM wants review

  • Wants to tighten industry deliverables as number of complaints rise
  • Most complaints about poor service and coverage, or billing and charging
Service providers lax on complaints, CFM wants review

THE number of consumer complaints against communications service providers has been on the rise, and the Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) wants them to buck up and hold themselves to higher standards.
CFM has filed a review of the General Consumer Code of Practice (GCC) with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), asking for the time period for service providers to resolve customer complaints to be shortened, according to CFM chairman Ishak Ma’amunor Rashid (pic above).
Service providers are currently given 15 days to resolve 90% of complaints, and 30 days to resolve 95% of them. CFM wants these deliverables tightened to increase efficiency and consumer satisfaction, he added.
“CFM has already submitted the final draft of the GCC to MCMC, and we are now waiting for the review of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA), which is expected to be completed in about a month,” the newly-elected chairman told a press conference after the CFM’s 15th annual general meeting (AGM) in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 28.
The Malaysian Government declared its intention to amend the CMA to take into account new developments since the law was first enacted in 1998, but later said it was also to strengthen administrative, preventive and enforcement measures when it comes to “monitoring cyber activities” and to “curb the abuse of Internet use.”
Civil society advocates are concerned that the amendments will be used to limit free speech and silence dissent on the Internet. The Government has tried to allay such concerns by saying that over 300 stakeholders were consulted on the proposed amendments to the CMA and MCMC Act.
At the press conference, Ishak admitted that CFM was amongst the stakeholders consulted, but declined to comment further except to say that the “changes being made are quite substantial.”
CFM is an independent self-regulatory forum established and designated by the MCMC in 2001 as a platform for the industry and consumers to contribute ideas regarding service improvements and policy developments.
It is also a channel to address complaints on communications and multimedia services. The GCC itself is a code of practice for industry players, with the objective of providing benchmarks to protect consumer rights.
The GCC guidelines are available here.
Rising ire
Service providers lax on complaints, CFM wants reviewAccording to Ishak, CFM has seen an increase in the number of complaints year-on-year.
“As of September 2015, 5,233 complaints were lodged with CFM compared with 5,043 complaints in September 2014. A total of 6,904 complaints were received for 2014,” he said, adding that 63.4% of the complaints lodged with CFM as of September 2015 came from its complaints portal.
Out of the 5,233 complaints received up to September 2015, 47% (or 2,471 complaints) were about cellular phone services, followed by wired and wireless broadband services at 1,205 and 680 complaints, respectively.
Complaints on poor service and coverage, along with billing and charging, made up 80.7% of all complaints recorded from July to September 2015.
About 97.73% of complaints were resolved within 15 days or less, and the remaining complaints in 30 days or less, as stated in the GCC guidelines.
Ishak conceded that the increase in the number of complaints could mean one of two things: First, that service providers were getting worse; or second, that the public is now more aware of CFM and are coming to it for help.
“It is a good indication for us because ultimately, what we hope to do is to educate the public on the services that are being offered by the providers,” he said.
Having been established for 14 years, yet still not really known to most consumers, CFM is looking to increase its engagement by conducting roadshows throughout Malaysia.
“We are also looking to attract young consumers, so we are now more active on our social media platform,” said Ishak.
CFM will also soon launch a mobile app – My Mobile Rights – to enable consumers to file their complaints without having to go to its website or visit its physical office.
“We are expecting a spike in complaints now that consumers know that they can come to us, so through the app, they can lodge their complaints or get educated on consumer rights, or use it to locate the nearest CFM office,” said Ishak.
CFM hopes to lunch the app by the end of the year, for the Android and iOS platforms.
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