Vodacom activates Consumer Protection Code

THABISO NTAOTE

MASERU — Vodacom Lesotho has officially launched its Consumer Protection Code, reinforcing customer rights and enhancing service delivery. The initiative, unveiled on Wednesday this week at Vodacom’s premises, aims to empower clients with crucial information, enabling them to make informed choices about the company’s products.

Guided by the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) and the Courts of Lesotho, Vodacom’s commitment to strengthening customer relations is evident.

The code of conduct encompasses various aspects, including access to services, freedom of choice, clear agreements, accurate billing, consumer education, privacy protection, fair treatment, market abuse prevention, and an effective grievance resolution mechanism.

With this code, Vodacom Lesotho pledges transparent and fair dealings, ensuring customer rights are always protected. Customers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the code and reach out to customer service for any clarifications.

Vodacom Lesotho, serving over one million customers, aligns the Consumer Protection Code with the Financial Consumer Act of 2022. This Act emphasises the establishment and protection of consumer rights for financial products and services.

The legal framework in Lesotho empowers Vodacom to enhance customer service across all product and service offerings, fostering strong trade relationships.

The Consumer Protection Code also adheres to LCA’s administrative rules, ensuring Vodacom addresses consumer complaints effectively.

At the press briefing, Vodacom’s Regulatory Affairs Manager, Mpoi Nkhasi, emphasised the significance of the code in relation to national and international laws and standards.

“Vodacom developed this code to help consumers understand their rights. We went above and beyond to create a Code of Conduct, available on the LCA website. This code is a promise to our consumers and is available in Sesotho and English to reach everyone,” Nkhasi stated.

She added that the code would be accessible in Vodacom shops nationwide, at community chiefs’ offices, and District Administration offices. Vodacom aims to continually evolve the code to better protect consumer rights.

Vodacom reiterated its commitment to providing non-discriminatory access to its products and services. The company guarantees that the quality of its services exceeds regulatory standards.

Manager of Pricing and Products, Thato Ralenkoane, said the Consumer Business Unit ensures clients receive voice, data, SMS, and value-added services, including digital services.

“Customers have the right to choose services that meet their needs. After making a choice, we ensure customers understand it to prevent misunderstandings. Pricing varies based on choices, ensuring client satisfaction,” she explained.

Regarding privacy, Vodacom has a dedicated team to respect customer information rights. Customers can request information and inquire about its use. They also have the right to update personal information, such as names and birth dates.

Consumers can opt out of receiving product and service information via SMS or calls. Steps are in place to ensure information reaches the rightful data subject.

Vodacom assured that it does not interfere with ongoing client conversations and complies with mandates from courts or regulatory bodies like the LCA.

Vodacom Lesotho CEO, Mohale Ralebitso, expressed hope that the Consumer Protection Code would set a standard for service in the country, earning respect locally and internationally.

“When the Consumer Protection Code becomes well-known, we hope other companies will replicate it, establishing a standard of service in Lesotho. Feedback from customers goes through a customer experience board and all managerial levels, ensuring it impacts consumers positively,” he said.

Ralebitso explained that they form customer focus groups to understand needs, move to product development, and then to the customer experience board before public rollout. Continuous assessments ensure services improve, fostering economic growth.