Pakistan Telecommunication Authority will take severe action against those cellular companies that use deceptive marketing strategies to acquire consumers’ attention by falsely claimed or misleading statements and/or facts. This was communicated to all cellular mobile operators of Pakistan through an official notice sent on August 29, 2008
A high level source from a cellular company told that an official letter was sent to them from PTA which said that authority has been observing that some Cellular companies are engaged in such advertisement campaigns which are misleading for general public and are of deceptive nature in its content.
Source confirmed that PTA had already issued warnings to mobile companies, on which telcos paid very little attention and continued their practices to print / or-air such advertisements which enormously increased consumer complaints and questions by the public representatives in the Parliament.
Current notice from PTA further said that print and electronic advertisements published / aired by cellular companies do not contain the details of applicable term and conditions along with the rates or these are vertically printed in unreadable small font making it difficult for the consumers to comprehend the relevant charges as well as the terms and conditions.
Notice asked all cellular companies to make sure that such associated conditions of the advertisements that can have a significant influence on the decision making of the consumer must be disclosed. In addition, the tariff and unit of charging should be in legible font, making it convenient for a consumer to comprehend the applicable terms.
Notice said that all cellular companies are directed to ensure strict compliance with the directives given in the notice. Otherwise authority may take severe action in accordance with the provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication Act and may conduct public hearing on this.
According to the Telecommunication Act of Pakistan, protecting consumers’ rights is a function of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, and for the purpose they had been issuing several notices to cellular companies. However, authority has not issued any show-cause notice or fined any cellular company for deceptive marketing as of now.