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Dear Editor: Consumer Affairs must hold banks and cable companies liable for glitches

“It cannot be right that we dutifully pay our bills—plus interest and often at considerable financial sacrifice—for what may be considered essential services in this current era without reciprocal accountability which is not even questioned by the media on most occasions.”

The following Letter to the Editor on questionable treatment from companies after interruption of service was submitted to Wired868 by Anthony Gafoor of St Augustine:

Photo: A satirical take on bank loans.
(Copyright Glasbergen)

It is difficult to understand why, as consumers, banks, cable and electricity companies will often refuse to account for glitches or severe unscheduled failures in their supply of services which conveys the impression that they are not accountable to us as consumers. Such failures occurred on 6th February with both the national electricity company as well as one of the leading banks in our country.

Such companies—and indeed there are other such as phone companies—are very quick to unilaterally impose or raise charges without any consultation with us as consumers even though when such supplies fail, there are exclusion clauses which exonerate them from liability or compensating us.

It cannot be right that we dutifully pay our bills—plus interest and often at considerable financial sacrifice—for what may be considered essential services in this current era without reciprocal accountability which is not even questioned by the media on most occasions.

It’s almost as if we have to accept such onerous charges and interest without question but there is little or no attempt to assist us to understand why such failures occur or to compensate us for the inconvenience suffered.

It is time for the Regulated Industries Commission, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and other regulatory bodies and us as consumers of such products—and upon whom the livelihood of such bodies is dependent—to take a more active role in holding such bodies to account and to realise that it is we who actually have the power to do something about this sub-standard treatment, especially when we are always held to account by such companies.

Photo: The Eric Williams Financial Complex.
(Copyright Investt.co.tt)

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3 comments

  1. I agree fully with the author. There is an example that I will give that makes TSTT appear to be similar to the modern day Shylocks that Raffique Shah speaks about.
    People who are prepaid cell phone customers have access to the service for 4 months unless they use up all the air time paid for. If they are near to using up the air time during the 4 months, TSTT sends a warning and also gives a small credit in advance of the top-up needed.
    However, no such reminder is given when the 4 month time period is about to end. If you have any money left that sum is forfeit on the day the time period ends. There should be reminders given to customers when the time-period is coming to an end..
    Why is the unused money not refunded? If the customer tops up the day before, the unused money is added to the value of the top-up. Now TSTT does not tell customers that the expiry time is at the beginning of the day, in other words midnight of the day before. So if February 8 is the expiry date the system takes the money at midnight on February 7. Payment on February 8 is not treated as an extension but payment on February 7 would be. TSTT does not entertain any objections. Shylock could not have done better.

  2. Consumer affairs division gets paid by the government, and probably there is no accountability or strategic planning involved since their funding is assured, hence they see no need to actually deliver impactful service to their customers (us)…time to change the system that makes this possible.

  3. When you pay for installation of an advertised service i.e “run the wires inside the ceiling for a cable company and 2 or 3 months after they cut various channels”. Who is going to withstand the cost for you to subscribe to another company and re-wire your house?