MALAWI COMMUNICATIONS REGULATORY AUTHORITY
CONSUMER GUIDELINES FOR ICT USERS
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is a body established by the Communications Act. Na.41 of 1998 to regulate communication services in the country. These communication services (collectively referred to as ICTs include telecommunications. broadcasting and postal services. The Authority also manages Frequency spectrum.
MACRA is mandated by Section 4 (2) (a) of the Communications Act to:
"Protect the interests of consumers, purchasers and other users of communication services in respect of the prices charged for the quality and variety of services provided and terminal equipment supplied."
MACRA believes that every consumer of communication services has the right to seek redress from their service provider when they are aggrieved by the actions or receive poor quality of service. Suffice it to soy that Section 5 (fl of the Communications Act gives power to MACRA to investigate any matter which is related to the provision of communication services or to the use of radio frequencies and which is the subject of a representation to the Authority.
In order to deliver on this very important cause, it is imperative that clear and systematic consumer guidelines are developed and followed. The guidelines will ensure that complaints are expeditiously investigated and resolved to the satisfaction of the consuming public. The guidelines are also intended to bring on board various interest groups and stakeholders so that regulatory decisions mode reflect their will and aspirations. This will be done through meetings with the stakeholders.
1. CUSTOMER CARE SYSTEM
Each licensee shall establish a customer care system within which customers may make inquiries and complaints.
All ICT and postal operators shall be required to notify customers about the availability of consumer complaint procedures and have in place forms to be used for registering complaints.
If the service provider does not provide the complaint handling procedures to fheir clients. the consumers need to inform MACRA in writing.
Each licensee shall provide a response to the customer's complaint within 21 (twenty one) days of receipt of the inquiry or complaint from the customer.
2. STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE FOR MAKING A COMPLAINT TO MACRA
Consumers of communication services who are dissatisfied wifh fhe services rendered to them by any of the operotors of the service, i.e. teiecommunications, freqr. lCy management. broadcasting and postal services h ,e a right and unfettered freedom to redress the situation through the lodging of complaints to MACRA.
Before making a complaint the consumer should first of all contact the company, agency or service provider whose services or products they are not safisfied or happy with. Consumers should therefore familiarize themselves with complaint handling procedures of their service providers fhat should be documented and provided for free by the service providers, and exhaust fhose procedures before approaching MACRA.
In the event that the service provider does not satisfacforiiy solve the problem, the consumer can now proceed to fiie a written complaint to The Director General for MACRA together with an atfachment of all correspondences they had with the service provider.
The letter of-cornpromt should include the following:
Contact information such as Name, Address, Telephone.end fax numbers and e-mail address where you can be contacted from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Appropriate service number e.q, telephone, fax number, website address e.t.c upon which the service provider is based.
As much specific information about the complaint as possible
Details of actions you have taken in your bid to resolve the complaint with the service provider prior to filing the complaint with MACRA
Contact details of employees of the service provider that you have talked with in an effort to resolve the complaint including dates.
Copies of relevant documents (such as bills) showing the disputed charges on which disputes are highlighted.
The specific redress you seek from MACRA.
Take note that MACRA shall not reimburse transport cost for those who decide to come in person to lodge c'( 'Iaints.
3. COMPLAINT RECEIPT
The Authority will as much as possible provide a rnultiplicitv of complaint receipt channels in line with technological advancements. The traditional ones will be by ordinary letter, telephony, fax and e-mail. The new ones that shall be explored include short message service (sms), electronic complaint form etc, In order to remove the
barrier of cost on part of the complainants, toll free telephone lines on both the fixed and mobile platforms will aiso be explored with the possibility of being introduced.
4. COMPLAINT REGISTRATION PROCEDURE BY MACRA
MACRA shall issue a complaint registration procedure and forms which shall include information on:
The nature of the contravention or non-compliance of tee and conditions of license
The extent to which such contravention or non-compliance of the conditions of' license had impact ed on the complainant
The relief sought as a result of such alleged contravention or non-compliance; and
Any other relevant information which may facilitate investigation of the complaint.
The complaint form shall be filled in duplicate, and a copy shall be retained by the customer.
Every complaint received shall be well documented and filed.
Whatever the channel of complaint. every complaint will be documented by registering and numbering it on the complaint form. A docket will then be opened and the complaint form together with any attached documents filed in it.
The docket shall then be Consumer Affairs office investigations
referred to the Legal ond for commencement of
5. MACRA'S DUTY AFTER INVESTIGATION
Upon completing investigation on the complaint, MACRA shall make a decision in writing and inform the customer and the licensee that the complaint:
Merits a formal hearing and advise parties of the date, time and place of heoring, or
Does not merit a formal hearing and advise parties of its determination and proceed to decide the matter.
Where the Authority conducts a formal hearing of the complaint, it shall after due consideration of all the evidence and reports, make an order of determination or issue an appropriate directive, including payment of a fine as MACRA may deem fit.
MACRA shall endeavor to complete the case within a rea-
sonable period of time. .
7. FEEDBACK TO THE COMPLAINANT
When the complaint has been exhaustively investigated and recommendations and lor orders have been made, the complainant shall be officially written to inform him/ her about the outcome.
8. FEEDBACK FROM THE COMPLAINANT
The complainant's perception and satisfaction after resolving the complaint shall be elicited. This shall be filed on the docket if received.
Any person aggrieved by the decision of MACRA may, within 14 (fourteen) days of the receipt of the decision, appeal to the High Court for review.
10. CONTACT DETAILS
All written complaints should be addressed to: