The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) in discharge of its functions has issued a show cause notice under Section 30 of the Competition Act, 2010 (the “Act”) to M/s Warid Telecom (Pvt.) Limited for deceptive marketing practices. The Undertaking through various media channels is advertising its ‘Minute’ Package, in which, it has been publicized that, ‘Calls can be made to any network from ‘warid minute package’ in Rs. 1.20/min’.
It has been stated in the show cause notice that the Undertaking, through its Advertisement is prima facie distributing false or misleading information to customers/consumers regarding the price, character and/or suitability for use of the product advertised in violation of Section 10(2)(b) of the Act: (a) The advertisement does not disclose the tax to be charged on the advertised rate i.e. 1.20/min, hence the consumers are not informed about the actual rate/price to be charged from them; (b) Advertisement does not disclose that the call rates of Rs. 1.20/min can only be availed during 11.00 PM to 4.59 PM; (c) In addition to the above, the Undertaking does not disclose the fact that the rate charged can be different for on-net and off-net calls during 5:00PM to 10.59PM i.e. Rs. 1.50/minute + tax for on-net calls and Rs. 1.70/minute + tax for off-net calls. It has also been alleged that the Undertaking through its Advertisement of Minute Package does not appear to disclose clearly to customers/consumers its true terms and conditions and there is likely to be a violation of sub-section (1) of Section 10 in terms of clauses (b) of sub-section (2) of Section 10 of the Act.
The Undertaking has been given 14 days time to file its written reply and the case has been fixed for hearing on September 09, 2011. Consumer protection is an important aspect of the Competition Act and consumers and businesses have a right to expect certain standards of quality, performance, safety from the goods and services they purchase. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that information provided with these goods and services is accurate and includes information required by law such as price, weight, contents and/or terms and conditions of services.
It is pertinent to mention that the Office of Fair Trading of the Commission is actively involved in prevention of deceptive marketing practices in order to protect consumers/customers.