Aquino expands telco probe to value added service providers

Published March 7, 2018, 5:39 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Paolo (Bam) Aquino IV on Wednesday urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to clamp down against unscrupulous value-added service (VAS) providers that deprive prepaid phone subscribers of their mobile load.

Senator Bam Aquino answers questions from members of the media during the breakfast forum, 'Kapihan sa Senado' at the Office of the Senate in Pasay City on Thursday. Senator Bam Aquino along with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV were recently tagged by DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre that they were involved with the Maute in Marawi Siege. (JAY GANZON)

Aquino, chair of the Senate committee on science and technology, said DTI and other concerned government agencies should work together to file criminal cases and penalize these deceitful VAS subscribers, saying they should be “dealt (with) the full force of the law.”

“It turns out that some of these VAS providers are deceiving subscribers. The DTI should, therefore, go after these fraudulent VAS providers. It’s not right for consumers to click ‘X’ and find out they have opted in for a VAS they do not need. They are defrauding subscribers,” Aquino said.

Aquino’s committee earlier looked into the various concerns and persistent complaints of Globe and Smart phone subscribers regarding unexplained disappearing load.

It was learned during the hearing that mobile notifications from VAS subscribers account for most of the disappearing call and text funds of prepaid consumers.

Aquino stressed that telecommunication companies should issue notifications to their subscribers whenever there are transactions credited to or deducted from their account.

This way, he said, subscribers will have a way to monitor their spending and will allow them to immediately cancel services they do not wish to avail of.

“Transparency is the first step to solving the sudden disappearance of prepaid mobile loads or ‘nakaw load’,” he stressed.

Instead of waiting for a bill to be passed into law, Aquino urged telcos to just comply with the proposed solution, which will help them address the problem of disappearing load.