Consumer complaints procedure
ICASA’s Consumer Protection division was established to ensure the continued protection of consumers in the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal sectors. This is achieved through public-awareness programmes and a streamlined complaints-handling system.
In order to fulfil our consumer-protection mandate, we have a certain procedure in place for dealing with consumer complaints. Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions we receive from consumers regarding the procedure.
WHAT TYPES OF COMPLAINTS CAN I LODGE WITH ICASA?
You can lodge a complaint against any service provider licensed by ICASA to provide communications services such as broadcasting, telecommunications or postal services.
The categories of complaints that may be lodged with ICASA are as follows:
COMPLAINTS AGAINST TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS
- Quality-of-service complaints, such as complaints about network coverage; dropped calls; line installation, activation, transfer and suspension; ADSL; mobile-number portability or suspension of service
- Complaints about the billing of data services, voice services and international roaming
COMPLAINTS AGAINST POSTAL SERVICE PROVIDERS
- Quality-of-service complaints about poor service, or about lost, damaged or stolen mail items
COMPLAINTS AGAINST BROADCASTING SERVICE PROVIDERS
- Billing complaints such as TV licence disputes
- Broadcasting complaints such as allegations of non-compliance with the broadcaster's licence terms and conditions or applicable legislation or regulations
WHAT TYPES OF COMPLAINTS SHOULD I NOT LODGE WITH ICASA?
Since ICASA was established in terms of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act no.13 of 2000 it is a "creature of statute", we can only deal with complaints that we're mandated to deal with in terms of the applicable legislation and regulations.
The following complaints fall outside of ICASA’s mandate and should be referred to other consumer-protection agencies:
- Complaints regarding contract terms and conditions, faulty handsets, misleading advertising or misrepresentation, and value-added services such as call-limit agreements should be directed to the National Consumer Commission
- Complaints regarding content services billing, SMS spamming and wireless application services should be directed to the Wireless Applications Service Providers' Association
- Complaints regarding credit bureau listings should be directed to the Office of the Credit Ombud
- Complaints regarding insurance claims should be directed to the Office of the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance
- Complaints regarding unsolicited merchandise should be directed to the Direct Marketing Association of Southern Africa
HOW DO I LODGE A COMPLAINT WITH ICASA?
COMPLAINTS AGAINST PROVIDERS OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND POSTAL SERVICES
- You must first lodge a complaint with your service provider and get a reference number for your complaint (it's very important to make sure the service provider issues you with a reference number)
- Allow the service provider 14 working days to resolve the complaint
- You may only refer your complaint to ICASA after completing the above process and only if the service provider does not resolve your complaint within 14 working days or if the response from the service provider is not satisfactory
- Complaints must be in writing and can be lodged directly on the ICASA website or a complaints form can be completed and emailed to email@example.com or faxed to 011 566 3444
- Complaints may also be sent via post or lodged by simply walking into any ICASA office (it’s important to remember that complainants who come to our offices to lodge a complaint will still be required to put their complaint in writing)
COMPLAINTS AGAINST PROVIDERS OF BROADCASTING SERVICES
- All broadcasting related complaints must be put in writing and either be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to 011 566 3444, sent via post or lodged by simply walking into any ICASA office (it’s important to remember that complainants who come to our offices to lodge a complaint will still be required to put their complaint in writing)
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I HAVE LODGED A COMPLAINT WITH ICASA?
The complaint will be acknowledged and assigned a reference number within 48 hours of receipt. The complainant must always quote that reference number when enquiring about progress. The details of the complaints officer assigned to deal with the matter will be stated in the acknowledgement.
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY COMPLAINT AFTER ICASA ACKNOWLEDGES IT?
- The complaint will be sent to the respective licensee/respondent for a response. This will be done within two working days upon receipt of a complaint
- It may happen that after registration your complaint will be referred to another specialised division within ICASA
- If your complaint is referred to another division in ICASA you will be notified and provided with the contact details of this division
WHAT WILL ICASA DO WITH THE RESPONSE FROM THE SERVICE PROVIDER?
ICASA will inform the complainant of the response received and will request the complainant to indicate whether the resolution offered is accepted or not.
WHAT IF I, THE COMPLAINANT, AM NOT SATISFIED WITH THE RESPONSE FROM THE SERVICE PROVIDER?
- ICASA will consider the reasons given by the complainant for being dissatisfied with the resolution offered and determine whether the reasons are valid
- After considering the complainant’s reasons for not accepting the licensee’s resolution, ICASA will either close the matter or refer it back to the licensee and request it to review its response
- Should the matter remain in dispute after this process it may be referred to ICASA’s internal alternative dispute resolution (ADR) committee and an ADR hearing will be scheduled with the disputing parties
- ADR is a voluntary process through which the disputing parties are provided an opportunity to engage with each other and attempt to resolve the matter between themselves
- Should the complaint remain in dispute after the ADR process ICASA will determine whether it warrants an escalation to the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) for adjudication
- If the matter does not warrant being escalated to the CCC, the complaint will be closed and the complainant will have to pursue the matter through other forums, which could include litigation