CRA vows ‘stronger’ initiatives to empower consumers
March 12 2016 09:22 PM
Amal Salem al-Hanawi
CRA Consumer Affairs Department manager Amal Salem al-Hanawi. PICTURE: Jayan Orma.

By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter

Aside from the two draft Codes on spam and premium rate service, which are expected to be finalised in the next three months, the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has vowed to safeguard consumer’s rights with“stronger” protection initiatives and regulatory initiatives.

CRA Consumer Affairs Department manager Amal Salem al-Hanawi made the statement on the sidelines of the CRA’s commemoration of World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) at the City Center Mall on Saturday.

The CRA has put up a booth at the mall to help the public better understand their consumer rights and find out more how CRA can help address any concerns about their service provider. The booth will be open from 10am to 9pm until March 15.

“Our focus in 2016 is to let the consumers know that we are here. This is a line we repeat all the time: ‘We are here for you’, which is why this year we are reaching out to consumers,” al-Hanawi told Gulf Times.

According to al-Hanawi, among the CRA’s objectives is to inform people visiting the booth that they have rights and assure them that these rights are protected.

“The CRA is here to help. Our commitment is to give consumers in Qatar the power of choice. Already, we have a strong Consumer Protection Policy and Advertising Code, and now we are finalising two Codes on spam and premium rate service,” al-Hanawi explained.

She said most of the consumer complaints the CRA receives are related to premium services, consumer’s inability to unsubscribe, spam and scam (either calls or messages), among others.

“Through these two draft Codes, CRA intends to empower consumers in Qatar to have full control of the services and messages they want to receive,” al-Hanawi said.

Once finalised, she said the two Codes will further strengthen CRA’s consumer protection initiatives and ensure consumers have the right to receive information and to stop receiving any such information through a simple process.

Asked if there are any penalties the CRA plans to impose on service providers (Ooredoo and Vodafone), al-Hanawi said: “We are planning to enhance the powers of the CRA…on imposing penalties, it has not been an issue with us right now because the service providers comply every time we ask them to do something.

“The CRA is a government entity and they know that we have just been established recently. Nonetheless, service providers have been supportive to us.”

She said CRA staff at City Center will also be available to provide information about CRA’s other public services related to electromagnetic spectrum and numbering, such as: Customs Clearance Certificate for clearance of telecommunications or radio communication equipment from the Customs Authority, Import Authorisation Licenses for importing and dealing in radio and telecommunication terminals, Type Approvals for new models of radio communications equipment or telecom terminal equipment for commercial or individual use; and Domain Name Registration for Qatar-specific domains names for commercial or personal use.

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