Tuesday, 25 Sep 2018
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More attention must be paid to telco customers' welfare PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 09:09

LETTER | Adam (not his real name) had recently subscribed to a telecommunications (telco) postpaid plan. He was motivated to subscribe to that particular plan because he was given the assurance that he will get a certain network speed coverage that he needs.

However, to his dismay, the coverage was not up to his expectation and he feels dissatisfied paying extra while he only gets low-quality service. To make matters worse, he finds that switching and finding the right network provider is not as easy as it looks.

Have you shared a similar fate as Adam?

Recently, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry pledged to improve pricing and speed of broadband services for Malaysian consumers. While this is highly applauded by NCCC, the welfare of telco consumers must be given the same attention by the ministry.

For the past few years, issues in relation to telecommunications have not been improved. This is reflected in National Consumer Complaints Centre's (NCCC) annual reports. In 2016 alone, NCCC recorded RM16 million losses in relation to telco complaints.

The highest numbers of complaints received are customer service complaints; second-highest are line/internet connection issues such as Adam’s, with billing dispute and termination services also among the 5,681 complaints received in 2016.

Other issues include charges from unsolicited SMSes which results in consumers paying more than what was initially intended.

In addition, it is unacceptable that an unknown third party has access to consumers’ phone numbers and charges them directly without obtaining prior consent.

In 2017, Malaysia witnessed the largest data breach it had ever seen, with 46.2 million mobile subscribers' data being compromised and leaked.

What has been done significantly to protect and deter this incident from happening again?

Last year, a platform called SayaKenaHack.com was created to allow a subscriber to check if their personal data had been compromised. The platform highlighted the discovery of a breach within a breach, in which mobile numbers unknown to consumers were registered under their MyKad numbers.

While the platform was blocked later due to personal data protection concerns, no other proper avenue similar to SayaKenaHack.com was created by authorities.

The ministry and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) must provide an avenue for subscribers to gain more information in relation to their subscription and exercise their right as consumers to address the issue.

Malaysians today are more connected than ever, and in line with this growth, NCCC believes more avenues must be created, including effective policies and enforcement, to protect our consumers.

SHABANA NASEER AHMAD is a senior manager for legal and policy matters with the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC).

 
Tour company takes flight after collecting deposits from customers PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 July 2018 11:23



Tour company takes flight after collecting deposits from customers

PETALING JAYA: When Sarah Tan (not her real name) chanced upon a cheap Europe tour package from a local tour agency, she had a hunch that it was too good to be true.

The 11-day, nine-night tour with the company – known as Dulcet Travel & Tours – only cost about RM12,000 for five people.

As it turned out, her suspicion was right. The company went underground after they paid the deposit for the holiday next month.

Read more...
 
TIPS FOR SAFE ONLINE SHOPPING PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 April 2018 15:52

 
EIGHT CONSUMER RIGHTS PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 April 2018 15:46

 
World Consumer Rights Day PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 09:42

 

World Consumer Rights Day 15 march 2018

The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is celebrated every on March 15 to pay solidarity with the international consumer. It is a global event that allows us to remind the world about the importance of observing and enforcing consumer rights. This year the global theme for the WCRD 2018 is 'Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer'. The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (FOMCA) has chosen the theme of 'Consumer Protection in E-Commerce' as this is a major consumer area that needs to be looked into.

E-commerce or online shopping as commonly used by many becomes one of the preferred ways of shopping. Unlike the traditional way of shopping, online shopping does not involve face-to-face communication and brings about many benefits to e-consumers which are the reason why online stores are a booming business today. Malaysia has the highest penetration of online shopping – 67% and therefore it is safe to conclude that Malaysians are now on the trend of buying goods online, moving away from the traditional way of shopping. This estimate is farther expected to grow in the future. While e-commerce brings about many benefits, consumers are also exposed to risks due to the nature of online shopping. E-commerce/online shopping constitutes the largest number of complaints received by the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) with losses amounting to millions.

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Scammers are getting smarter, and we should too PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 February 2018 15:10

 

Scammers are getting smarter, and we should too

Published: 7 Feb 2018, 11:12 am Modified: 7 Feb 2018, 11:16 am

LETTER | Scammers are getting smarter these days. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Typically reported scams in Malaysia include online scams, lottery scams, African scams, bank impersonator scams and investment scams.

Recently NCCC received a call from a victim, Chong (not her real name), who said that she had received a call from an unknown number.

The caller claimed to be from the police. The scammer correctly stated the victim’s name and her identification card number, and told the victim that she was being investigated for several offences, which include drugs and money laundering.

Surprised with what she heard, she denied the allegations. However, this did not stop the “officer” from threatening her further by saying the punishment for those offences are severe, and that she could “hang” for the crimes that she had committed.

He further added that the victim’s picture will be published in the newspapers and the local news.

The scammer went on to say that this information should not be shared with a third party, or else their life will be in danger too. In order to settle this issue, Chong was urged to bank in RM 30,000 to a new account, and do so before her account was frozen by the “authorities.”

Apparently, a “sergeant” would then call her to advise on next course of action after the payment is made. If the victim fails to pay, she will be remanded for 45 days, and the cost to bail her would rise to RM700,000.

At this point, Chong realised that something was amiss and thus called for help. Her quick thinking at this point had saved her from transferring her hard earned money to a complete stranger.

She then proceeded to get a second opinion and her family and friends urged her to make a police report. The police confirmed that such a scam has been reported by many consumers and urged the victim to be vigilant.

Here is what you should do when such situation arises.

If the caller pressures you about giving up personal information – like your credit card or any sensitive information – it’s likely a scam. Hang up and report it.

Do not follow instructions given by the caller without first consulting someone. Call the police or financial institutions for further verification.

If the caller claims to be from a financial institution, do not reveal account numbers or credit card details unless you initiated the call, and can verify the purpose for which you are providing the information. If you are not sure, call Bank Negara for verification.

Do not panic and stay calm; think clearly and handle the problem effectively.

Despite the laws and regulations currently in place to stop scamming practices, we as consumers still have to be vigilant.

Beware of your surroundings and most importantly note down the particulars of the caller, and lodge a police report at the nearest police station. If the scammers are getting smarter, then we should too.

 
International UM students claim cost was raised by up to RM36,000 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 10:00

 

International UM students claim cost was raised by up to RM36,000


 

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of international students at Universiti Malaya (UM) has raised an outcry over an increase in tuition fees of up to RM36,000.

The Star’s R.AGE team spoke to 15 students, all undergraduates in their first year, who claimed to have had their tuition fees increased after they arrived in Malaysia.

“When I applied for the course in March 2017, it was only about RM5,000 a semester.

“But when I arrived in August, I found that they had increased the fee to RM9,500,” said an accounting student from Indonesia, who requested anonymity.

“I have not paid as I am still waiting for them to quote the final fee,” he added.

Another student from Nigeria said her course fee was RM4,440 per semester when she checked in July. When she arrived in September, however, it was revised to RM6,720 and then RM7,020 in December.

“I hope UM will charge us the original fees and that this scenario will not repeat itself in subsequent semesters,” said the student.

The addition in fees differs from course to course, but ranges between a few hundred ringgit and RM9,000 a year.

R.AGE sighted the offer letters of some of the students and found that they did not contain the exact fee, but pointed to a fee structure on the online student portal.

According to the students, the fees were revised in the months after they accepted the offer, but they were not informed of the changes.

The students claimed that no explanation was given for the fee hike except that the university reserved the right to change the fees at its discretion.

The students also claimed that they knew of over 40 other students who had been affected by this fee increase.

Further investigations revealed that a fee structure published on UM’s official Facebook page on Feb 2, 2017, was significantly lower than the current fee structure displayed on its online student portal.

R.AGE also looked through archived versions of the online student portal, finding that prices for one of the courses was changed as recently as July 28, 2017.

R.AGE has been contacting various departments within UM since Thursday for a response to the claims and to explain the increase in fees, but has yet to receive any.

National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) senior legal and policy manager Shabana Naseer Ahmad said students should be advised upfront on how much and what they would be paying for.

“It’s unfair for universities to claim that they can change the fees as they wish. They should have a rough figure of the estimated cost and not implement a drastic change in fees, which is misleading,” she said.

“Fee changes should be made in advance with valid reasons, such as new regulations or requirements imposed by the Government.”

She said students who feel that they have been misled can reach out to NCCC at www.nccc.org.my.

 

 
Hair-raising tales of treatment centres PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 09:55

Hair-raising tales of treatment centres


PETALING JAYA: When Rani (not her real name) saw that her hair was thinning out because of a medical condition, she turned to a hair loss treatment centre for help.

Little did she know that after a year of treatment, she would end up with a RM36,000 bill.

“The consultants tried aggressively to convince me to commit to their package and charged me RM12,000 when I first signed up,” said the health practitioner, who is in her 40s.

However, she had to fork out more money than expected when the consultants scared her into buying additional packages.

“During my weekly appointments, they would use a scanner to take a picture of my scalp and point out patches supposedly caused by fungal infection,” she said.

“They said it would worsen if I did not take a certain product.”

She added that they had no fixed price listing for the product, as it was sold to her for RM10,000 once and at RM3,000 another time.

Rani said the treatment on her daughter also turned awry, worsening her hair loss.

“We visited a skin specialist, who told us that our scalps had no fungal infections,” she said.

Another customer, who did not wish to be named, said she faced a similar problem when the centre’s consultants brought out the scanner to coax her into signing up for other packages.

“They used the scanned pictures to show me that I had a lot of dandruff and needed other treatments to fix my problem,” she said, adding that she then signed up for another 15 sessions.

The 52-year-old retiree said she had a few sessions left in her package, but her hair loss had not improved.

The National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC), when contacted, said it received 1,656 complaints regarding haircare treatments in 2015 when such complaints were specially categorised.

Its legal and policy senior manager Shabana Naseer said they made up 89.6% of 1,848 complaints recorded by NCCC that year.

She advised consumers to think carefully before signing up for any haircare package.

“NCCC received many complaints about sales tactics by beauticians, some of whom criticised the customer’s appearance to make them feel insecure so that they would sign up for the package,” she said, adding that customers should not buy products out of fear of offending the salesperson.

“One should not be bought in by methods used by sales personnel, and customers must lodge a report immediately upon any misconduct done by the centre,” she said.

She also called upon the relevant government authorities and regulators such as the Health Ministry, the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and the Companies Com­mission of Malaysia to monitor and ensure that hair treatment centres were run only by qualified professionals.

 

 

 
Warranty / Jaminan PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 09:53

Bolehkah tuntutan ganti rugi dibuat sekiranya tiada kad waranty

  • Di Malaysia, remedi bagi barangan yang rosak didapati dalam Akta Jualan Barangan 1957 ("SOGA") dan Akta Perlindungan Pengguna 1999 ("CPA").

  • Bahagian V dan VI (Seksyen 30 hingga 49) CPA mengandungi peruntukan yang memberikan jaminan tersirat berkenaan dengan barang pengguna dan menetapkan remedi yang tersedia kepada pengguna jika barangan tersebut tidak mematuhi mana-mana jaminan yang tersirat.

  • Dalam undang-undang Malaysia, semua produk pengguna mempunyai jaminan secara automatik tanpa ditulis secara lisan. Jaminan ini disebut sebagai implied warranty. Maksudnya semua produk pengguna yang dijual di negara ini perlu mempunyai kualiti yang berpatutan. Pengeluar, Pembuat dan Pengedar perlu memastikan produk yang dijual berkualiti dan boleh digunakan pada jangka masa yang munasabah.

  • Sekiranya pengedar dan pengeluar menafikan hak pengguna untuk menuntut pembaikan atau penggantian, tuan/puan boleh membuat aduan kepada NCCC atau boleh membawa kes ini ke Tribunal Tuntutan Pengguna Malaysia.

 

SHABANA NASEER

 
Championing the rights of air travellers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 10:22

 

Championing the rights of air travellers


  • Letters
  • Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017- THE STAR

IMAGINE you are at the airport to catch a flight. You arrive early for check in and to clear security. To your dismay, you find that the flight has been delayed. You did not receive any notification of the delay and the rest of your journey is going to be disrupted since you couldn’t make alternative arrangements. Furthermore, the airline you are travelling with cannot provide any satisfactory reason for the delay.

This may well have happened to you as this is among the numerous complaints received by the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) on airline services. Other complaints are lost baggage, hidden charges, poor customer service and difficulty claiming refunds. In 2015 alone, NCCC received 2,113 complaints on airline services.

One of the most upsetting complaints raised by many is lost baggage, which they describe as a violation to their personal property. Customers whose checked-in luggage is lost or damaged have the legal right to claim compensation from the airline. However, most of those who have been through the experience feel the compensation awarded is not sufficient compared to the loss they suffered.

Many customers are also not happy with the additional charges imposed by some airlines that are not made clear during the booking process. How clearly this information is presented/ made available varies between airlines, and there is a growing number of customers who had to pay more than what was initially advertised/ offered by the airline concerned.

NCCC would like to advise consumers to lodge complaints with the airline concerned first. If the airline or aviation service provider does not resolve your complaint within 30 days after you sent it, you may submit a complaint to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) or the NCCC. The Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 through Mavcom protects air travellers and defends the rights of consumers who have problems with their flight.

For example, if the flight is delayed by more than two hours, consumers are entitled to meals, telephone and Internet access (where applicable). If the flight is delayed by five hours or more, consumers are entitled to claim the same benefits as in the two-hour delay period plus hotel accommodation (including transport to and from the hotel). Consumers can find more information at www.mavcom.my.

SHABANA NASEER

Senior manager, Legal and Policy

National Consumer Complaints Centre/FOMCA

 

 
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