Call for law to ensure redress of service woes


PETALING JAYA: Ever had your satellite television or internet service disrupted even though you have paid all your bills?

You’re not alone if you feel you deserve some form of compensation from the service providers. In fact, you have the support of consumer organisations.

“It’s a matter of principle for a consumer to be compensated for each instance of service disruption,” said Paul Selvaraj, the Secretary-General of the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca).

He was commenting on the Energy Commission’s announcement that consumers were entitled to rebates if they experienced power outages at least four times a year.

Selvaraj told FMT the right to rebates and compensation should be enjoyed by users of all services, not just electricity.

“All service providers must be made accountable,” he said. “The government should work on developing a formula for compensation for customers when there is a break of service that is not an act of God.”

He noted that consumers currently could get restitution through the Tribunal for Consumer Claims, but he said this was not good enough because decisions were made on a case-by-case basis and would often take time.

“It is better to have a piece of legislation to specifically guide the process of compensation for service disruptions,” he said.

Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM) lead activist Nadzim Johan also said consumers must be compensated for substandard service.

“Many companies are monopolistic in nature; so they feel they can do what they want,” he said.

He agreed with Selvaraj that the Tribunal for Consumer Claims was ineffective.

“It needs more power,” he said. “What we need is a commission that specifically addresses compensation cases.”

On Tuesday, the Energy Commission said domestic users in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya could claim a 1% rebate off their average monthly bill for 12 months or RM10, whichever is higher, if they experience unplanned power interruptions of four hours or more, four times a year.