Group threatens to sue telcos over unsolicited text messages

telcosA civil society group, Excellent Ghana, is demanding apology from mobile telecommunication operators in the country for the persistent unsolicited text messages they have been sending to subscribers.
The group mentioned Glo Mobile and Vodafone Ghana, as the operators who have persistently been sending out those advert-based text messages to subscribers without any subscription whatsoever.
A statement issued by the group said such practice is in clear violation of the Electronic Transactions Act of 2007, and consequently asked the operators to cease sending such messages or face legal consequence.
Section 50 (1)  of the Act states: “Except in the case of a notice sent by an electronic communications provider to a customer in relation to the service, a person shall not send unsolicited electronic communications to a consumer without obtaining the prior consent of the consumer.”
It continues in Section 5 that: “A person who sends unsolicited commercial communications to another person or who continues to send unsolicited commercial communications after cancellation of the subscription commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine or not more than five thousand penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years or to both.”
In spite of this regulation, Excellent Ghana says the providers either send such messages themselves or give out the details of customers to Value Added Service partners who send such messages to subscribers, even when they have unsubscribed to those services which they did not subscribe to in the first place.
General Secretary of Excellent Ghana, Mr Earl Teddy Nartey, said “Glo’s persistent way and manner of sending sms-advert of ‘Prof Jon Bull’ and even ‘Twin Bash’ for the past 31 days to its members, especially after unsubscribing (though unrequested, in the first place) is offensive, in law”.
He asked Glo’s Management to furnish them with the legal basis for giving out customer details, as contact numbers, to Content Providers and or Value Added Service partners.
According to the group, Vodafone Ghana has also not only been sending its members similar unrequested sms-advert as ‘INFOTAINMENT’, but unduly end up deducting credit of customers.
The group has thus asked the operators to consider this statement as “a fair notice and apologise duly within two weeks- according to law or face a legal determination”
It has also called on the National Communications Authority, to act decisively, in monitoring and sanctioning such offensive conducts by operators.

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