By Caribbean News Now contributor
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Caribbean wireless telecoms provider Digicel has asked regional regulators to launch an investigation into call handling by its competitor LIME (foermely Cable and Wireless), which Digicel claims results in some consumers being unfairly charged.
In November 2013, Digicel said it detected unusual calling patterns to LIME numbers across 12 of LIME’s Caribbean markets and launched an investigation that discovered that consumers may be improperly charged for calls to certain LIME numbers.
“Despite persistent efforts to work with LIME to rectify the situation and multiple assurances from LIME that the situation has been corrected, Digicel continues to find intermittent examples of the issue continuing in various LIME markets in the Caribbean. As such, Digicel has lost confidence in LIME’s assurances that the issue has been resolved and customer’s credit is no longer being taken in error,” Digicel said in a press statement.
Therefore, in order to protect the rights and purse strings of mobile customers, Digicel said it is now turning to the respective regulators and requesting that they launch an investigation into the matter and move to ensure the problem is solved and bring an end to what it described as the improper charging for calls to certain LIME numbers.
Further, Digicel has requested that the regulators ensure a mechanism is established whereby LIME is required to compensate consumers that have been affected by LIME.
Commenting on the decision to ask the regulators to intervene, CEO of Digicel Jamaica, Barry O’Brien, said; “As a customer champion, we are duty bound to ensure that the rights of consumers are protected. We have tried over the course of many months to work with LIME to rectify this issue, but our requests have largely fallen on deaf ears. As such, we have no other choice but to ask the [regulators] to intervene as quickly as possible so that we can ensure that customers’ credit is safe.”
Martin Roos, CEO for LIME said on Friday: "There is absolutely no substance to Digicel's claims about overcharging, and we will be communicating this to the regulators. The claims made by Digicel were resolved from as early as January 2014. Any charges made in error have been immediately corrected by LIME, as part of usual settlement practices between ourselves and other operators. This is simply mischief making by Digicel, which will potentially mislead both their customers and ours, and take attention away from the fact that LIME have better value propositions in the market. LIME stands for transparency and respect in our pricing."
In response to Roos’ comments, Digicel said it is not an overcharging issue.
“it is an issue with LIME’s call handling systems in up to 12 of its Caribbean markets which can result in customers of all networks being unjustly charged for calls to LIME. Examples of this can include customers being charged for calls to invalid (e.g. inactive or disconnected) LIME numbers and customers can be charged while a call is ringing to a LIME number, even if that call is not then connected,” Digicel said.
This issue apparently not only affects Digicel customers calling LIME numbers – it potentially affects any fixed or mobile customer who dials an affected LIME number.