Telcos prize schemes are against public interest : IHC

Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ruled against various prize schemes offered by Telecom companies in the country and declared them against the interest of consumers. The Court said that telecom companies had been awarded a license by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority for providing Telecommunications services to Consumers and they could only earn profit by offering these services to their subscribers, not by introducing prize schemes.

The PTA had asked telecommunications service providers on May 28, 2012 to stop all award systems prizes even if they were genuine. The authority classified these award systems as inaccurate and against Telecom Consumer Protection Control and directed telecommunications services to abandon such promotions immediately to avoid legal action.

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In June last year, the Telecom companies – Mobilink, Ufone, Warid Telecom, Telenor and Zong – challenged the PTA directives in the IHC. The Court after initial hearing had issued a stay order in favor of cellular companies but on Friday it dismissed their petitions.

Sabtain Fazli, counsel for cellular companies, said introduction of prize schemes did not violate consumer rights. The contention of cellular companies was that the Court never directly called for stopping these schemes. Instead, the direction from the apex court to the PTA was to stop such prize schemes which were ill-structured and promoted gambling. According to them, the schemes cannot be stopped immediately as there were many stakeholders involved who were working together after having lawfully agreed on the terms and conditions as per law of the land.

Source