DTI urged to file cases against fraudulent VAS providers

Unscrupulous value-added services (VAS) providers that deprive subscribers of their prepaid loads should be dealt the full force of the law, according to Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV.

Sen. Bam Aquino

In a radio interview, Aquino said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other concerned government agencies will work together to file criminal cases and punish the deceitful VAS providers.

“Lumalabas na may mga pasaway na VAS providers na nandadaya ng subscribers,” said Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

During the committee hearing on the issue of the disappearance of prepaid loads, a resource person testified that clicking “X” on a pop-up resulted in an opt-in to the unwanted VAS.

“Dapat habulin ng DTI ang mga manlolokong VAS provider. Hindi tama na pagpindot mo ng ‘x’ ay opt-in na pala iyon sa VAS. Panloloko ito sa mga subscriber,” the lawmaker said.

Telecommunications firm Globe Telecoms has signified its plan to conduct a system refresh where all of its subscribers will be opted-out of their VAS subscriptions and will have to register again through stricter means.

Smart Communications, on the other hand, said it is already implementing a two-step verification process to protect its subscribers.

During the hearing, Aquino emphasized that transparency is the first step to solving the sudden disappearance of prepaid mobile loads or “nakaw load”.

Aquino said telcos should issue notifications to their subscribers when load is credited or deducted to their account. This way, he said subscribers will have a way monitor their load spending and will allow them to immediately cancel services they do not wish to avail.

Instead of waiting for a legislation to be passed into law, Aquino encouraged telcos to just comply with the proposed solution, which will help them address the problem of “nakaw load.”

“Ang batas, isang taon iyan bago mabuo. Mas maganda siguro kung uunahan na nila upang mabigyan na ng agarang solusyon ang matagal nang problemang ito,” he said.

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