cpcIt is certainly not a good time at MTN Nigeria; the nation’s biggest telecommunication company has the telecommunication brand keep falling into the traps of regulators and competition.
While battling the Nigerian Communication Commission’s jumbo fine and recent action of co-competition, Etisalat over the its recent acquisition of Visafone, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has directed MTN Communications Nigeria Limited, to pay N1.85 million to one of the winners of its Ultimate Wonder promo held in 2012. The council said the promotion in question lacked due diligence.
The directive followed a complaint brought by Mr. Omeje Chukwuma Fidelis against MTN, alleging that he was underpaid after he was declared winner of the N2 million prize in the said sales promotion.
Omeje claimed he participated in the promotion and was called through the MTN line 180 on October 10, 2012 and was informed that he had won the N2 million prize in the Ultimate Wonder promo.
He also claimed that on October 12 of the same year, he got a text message informing him of the presentation ceremony fixed for October 19 at the NICON Luxury Hotel, Abuja.
CPC spokesman, Obimuyiwa Biodun, in a statement said‎ the complainant asserted that during the ceremony, he was presented with a dummy cheque of N2 million with his name on it, interviewed and paraded before the media and the world as the winner of the promo.
The complainant further recounted that he was stunned to receive another call from the MTN line 180 on November 2, 2012 informing him that his winnings was N150,000 and was thereafter given a Verve ATM card for that amount.
However, MTN, in its response to the council’s intervention, denied the claim by Omeje, saying that he was from the outset informed that his winnings was N150,000 and that the complainant deceitfully presented himself when winners in the N2 million category were called forward on the day of the prize presentation.
The company further argued that Omeje’s antics were discovered at the verification of winners, which was done after the ceremony and he was thereafter contacted through its 180 line on his misrepresentation, after which he apologised to the caller.
However, CPC was said to have demanded the call data on October 10, 2012 when Omeje was informed of his winnings of N150,000.
“MTN failed, refused and neglected to comply with the request made both in 2012 and 2016,” the statement said.
As a result, the council frowned on the consistent refusal of MTN to provide “the call data records evidencing details of the communication with the complainant”, and declared that “in the absence of this material evidence which is solely in the possession of the respondent, the CPC must resolve the issue in favour of the complainant”.
The CPC further declared that the process of the MTN Ultimate Wonder promo where the verification exercise was conducted after winners were identified, declared and winnings presented publicly was grossly flawed, lacking in transparency, inequitable, and apparently calculated to deceive consumers.
It said: “CPC on the strength of these observations, has directed MTN to pay within 14 days of receipt of this order, the sum of N1,850,000, being the unpaid part of the two million naira prize won by the complainant in the 2012 MTN Ultimate Wonder Promotion, to Mr. Omeje Chukwuma Fidelis.”
The council’s Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, also advised companies in the country to desist from promos that are not honest, transparent, equitable and faithful or designed to deceive consumers.