Yesterday we were all surprised to find out that Econet, Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network operator, has been dragged to court by a disgruntled subscriber over what she claims to be the misrepresentation of the duration of its WhatsApp daily bundle product.
The plaintiff, Ms. Maxine Mabuda, is suing Econet for $50,000.
She claims that Econet misrepresented its daily bundle as a product that would last the duration of the day (24 hrs) where in fact it is capped at 20mb of usage.
Econet has since acknowledged that Ms. Mabuda has indeed filed a lawsuit against them but could not offer any further comment as the matter is now before the courts.
“Econet Wireless has noted the legal action taken by one of our customers.”
“Since the matter is now a legal issue, the company is unable to comment further pending its resolution.”
In Ms. Mabuda’s filing of the lawsuit, she mentioned how she went through a lengthy argument with Econet’s customer care. Econet has confirmed that they did, in fact, engage with Ms. Mabuda but failed to reach an amicable agreement on the issue:
“The company can confirm that it endeavoured to engage with the customer to ensure a mutually agreeable resolution to no avail.”
Not only has Ms. Mabuda filed a lawsuit against Econet, but more interestingly, at least to us, she has successfully applied to stage a peaceful demonstration next Friday from Samora Machel to Econet’s HQ in Msasa.
The peaceful protest is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and puts the countries leading MNO in the spotlight worldwide, something Econet’s PR department must be sweating over.
Ms. Mabuda also made an interesting statement in her filing of how Econet’s customer care openly admitted that POTRAZ, our regulatory authority, was fully aware of its product marketing strategy.
The Regulator has since confirmed that it will respond to this issue by providing their take on the issue but failed to provide a response by the time of publishing this article.
It will be interesting to hear from the Regulator as the issue raised by Ms. Mabuda is not only practiced by Econet but by all mobile operators in the marketing of its social media bundles. NetOne and Telecel are in the same boat and could see themselves also dragged to court if Ms. Mabuda’s case gains some significance and traction.