Find out the 95 unknown subscriptions from MTN, Vodafone and AirtelTigo that finish your credit too early and how to unsubscribe.
In Ghana, there are three major Telecommunication Networks; MTN, Vodafone, and AirtelTigo. Recently “My credit finishes too early” has become a word among many mobile phone users in Ghana. Therefore, research has been conducted by Luv News to find out why Ghanaians experience faster mobile credit depletion soon after recharging.
A sample size of 100 affected users was selected for the exercise. The users ranged from “had no formal education” to “tertiary level education”
Analysis and Discussion
The analysis from Luv News shows that, out of these services, Games24Pro, JobsDotGO Plus, MScorer, RD Sexy Pink, and MusicApp constituted the frequently occurring services, from 6 and above. RD Sexy Pink and JobsDotGo Plus were found among 12 users; Games24Pro and MusicApp on 12 and 13 users respectively. MScorer took first place, being found with 20 users.
Unknowingly Subscribed Services
The survey revealed that the subscription charges range from 0.19 Ghana Cedis to 0.85 Ghana Cedis.
One of the subscriptions which appeared in 35 percent of the affected users was MScorer. This service carries a hefty price tag of 0.75 Ghana Cedis. A search in the Vodafone InfoShop yielded no results. I then emailed the Customer Care Service to find more about this service. I got: “Kindly be informed the Mscorer is a form of entertainment content service; customers can listen and download music content when subscribed to this service,” the email read.
Just when I thought I was done, I chanced on another service known as Premium Trivia. Premium Trivia topped with 0.85 Ghana Cedis.
According to Vodafone Ghana’s website, Trivia is simply a game.
It says “To become a Standard Participant in the Trivia Game you need to send an SMS to the shortcode 560 or dial the USSD Code *560#. This will come at no cost to the subscriber. However, to become a Premium Participant in the Trivia Game, you need to send an SMS to the shortcode 570 or dial the USSD Code *570# at a daily cost of GHS 0.85 (including all taxes).”
Are Telcos aware?
MTN has been sending messages to users to unsubscribe from any services they wished to.
But how do users get onto these services they have no idea about?
Do they subscribe unknowingly?
According to the CEO of the Chamber of Telecommunications, Dr. Kenneth Ashigbey, many of these unsolicited subscriptions are being perpetuated by National Communications Authority-licensed third parties.
“There are third parties who have been given licenses by the NCA and, indeed, most of them do not go through the process,” he confirmed.
Findings from the survey revealed that the subscription charges range from 0.19 Ghana Cedis to 0.85 Ghana Cedis. Also, another service known as Premium Trivia topped with 0.85 Ghana Cedis. Again the findings show that there are third parties who have been given licenses by the NCA, and, indeed, most of them do not go through the process.
Besides, users subscribe to these services unknowingly. Hence, ending up with more than 5 unknown subscriptions.
What to do and How to stop unknown subscriptions
To check if there is any paid subscription on one’s phone, the user is supposed to dial:
- MTN *175#
- Vodafone *463#
- AirtelTigo, *100#
The user would have to then follow the prompts and check and unsubscribe.
On MTN, except the number of subscriptions goes beyond 4, there appears a step where one can unsubscribe to all. For Vodafone however, every single subscription must be unsubscribed, same for AirtelTigo.
The Electronic Transactions Act, 2008 Act 772 states:
- Except in the case of a notice sent by an electronic communications provider to a customer about the service, a person shall not send unsolicited electronic communications to a consumer without obtaining the prior consent of the consumer.
- A person who sends electronic commercial communication to a consumer shall provide the consumer (a) with the option to cancel the subscription to the mailing list of that person, and (b) with the identifying particulars of the source from which that person obtained the consumer’s personal information at the request of the consumer.
- An agreement shall not be deemed to have been concluded where a consumer fails to respond to unsolicited communication, and the consumer is entitled to recover the costs associated with the cancellation of unsolicited communication.
- A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than five thousand penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years or both.
- A person who sends unsolicited commercial communications to another person or who continues to send unsolicited commercial communications after the cancellation of the subscription commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than five thousand penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years or both.
It has become crucial for this law to be set in motion to recover all the monies lost through these unknown subscriptions.