The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has received complaints from various persons regarding the manner in which the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) effected the increase in rental charges for post boxes during the rental period April 2009 to March 2010.
The specific complaints were that the increase in rental charges as announced in December 2009 was supposed to take effect only after the prevailing rental period had elapsed; 31st March 2010. However, the cooperation applied the revised charges to the period December 2009 to March 2010.
Customers were therefore requested to top-up the difference in fees for the last quarter in accordance with the new fee structure, even though they had paid for the entire rental period under the old fee structure.
After undertaking investigations, the Authority has established the following:
1. The retrospective application of the new fees on a period for which consumers had already paid under the previous fee structure (from December 2009 to 31st March 2010) was wrong.
2. Consumers were not accorded any opportunity to choose whether to continue using the service in or not in light of the new fees. An involuntary condition of indebtedness was subsequently imposed on all existing customers.
The Authority has determined that ZAMPOST abused its monopoly power when it retrospectively applied the increase in post box charges and failed to give its customers an opportunity to agree or decline to the new charges in December 2009.
Arising from the above, the Authority has therefore directed ZAMPOST:
A) To only effect revised charges from 1st April 2010
B) Those customers that paid charges for the period December 2009 to April 2010 should be reimbursed with the extra charge credited to their respective accounts for the next rental period.
C) ZAMPOST to report to ZICTA once the directive has been complied with.
ZICTA further wishes to inform all affected consumers to report any non compliance to the above directives to the address below:
Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA)
Great North Road
P.O. Box 36871
Tel: +260 211 24 6697/ 244424-26