I recently had an unfortunate experience with Digicel, a telecommunication provided in Dominica. This experience left me wondering whether there are any rules or regulations in Dominica to ensure consumers of Digicel are not taken advantage of. Thus, I can’t help but ask the burning questions, do we have any regulations pertaining to the operations of utility companies in Dominica or any regulations at all to protect the consumer or customer in Dominica? What is the job of Bureau of Standards in Dominica or the minister responsible for Telecommunication? In simple terms, are there any policies/rules which govern the operations of utility companies in Dominica? And if there are, is there an organization/ institution which supervises the operations of utility companies to ensure that they operate within the parameters of what is stipulated in policies? Or is it a free for all or some rules just don’t apply to some of the utility companies?
In June of 2021, customers of Digicel Play expressed concern over a rate increase from the company, which many said came with no prior notice. During this unfortunate occasion, customers revealed that on arriving at the Digicel retail store to pay their bills, they were all individually informed of an EC$10.00 increase to their bundle service while customers with broadband service only, were told of a five-dollar increase. While I find this move on the company’s end was unreasonable and unethical, I still agreed to pay that which I had to.
However, presently, less than one year after the aforementioned, Digicel had done it again. Digicel has now implemented a new payment of $20.00 EC monthly for short term disconnection without informing the customers. Not sure what I’m talking about? Well let me explain. A Dominican who lives abroad or one who lives in Dominica but would be out of states for a short period of time could request a temporary disconnection from Digicel for which they would pay $17.00 EC. Upon their return home they would pay $17.00 EC for reconnection. As of now, this same individual is required to pay the same $17.00 for temporally disconnection, $17.00 for reconnection and a flat rate of $20.00 EC monthly while the service is not even in use. In short, a customer who has requested and received a temporary disconnection, is still required to pay a $20.00EC monthly.
My question to the minister responsible for telecommunication and the Bureau of Standards in Dominica is how could this be fair? Furthermore, I would like to know if the Government of Dominica, particularly the Minister responsible for telecommunications, is aware of this and if so, how could they approve such thing.? How does such a thing receive an approval?
Digicel implemented an increased rate for service without the customers’ knowledge last year and there were no consequences to them as far as my knowledge serves me. Is history going to repeat itself in such a short space of time? Doesn’t that look like taking advantage of the poor costumers who are already plagued with low income? How can we just let a company take advantage of consumers like this?
Editor, can you please ask Digicel to explain this?