Bill seeks ban on expiration period in unused prepaid call, text cards

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Las Pinas representative Mark Villar has House Bill 4782, which seeks to remove the expiration period on unused prepaid call and text cards and forfeiture of load credits.

Photo credit: vmobileph.blogspot.com
Photo credit: vmobileph.blogspot.com

Villar said consumers are complaining that they do not get the full value of what they paid in terms services from telecommunication companies. “They cited the vanishing loads and the setting of the expiration dates on the prepaid load,” Villar said.

Citing the 2013 report of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Villar said of the 100 million cellular phones in the country, 80 percent or about 80 million Filipinos are using prepaid cards.

Villar said the Business Monitor International (BMI) also reported that the number of mobile subscribers in the Philippines is expected to reach 117 million by 2016.

“The pre-paid subscription was popular and used by many Filipinos due to the fact that they live day-to-day with just the money in their pocket,” Villar said.

Villar said the disappearance of load credit is a form of “theft” as the putting an expiry on the prepaid load was wrong since it was already bought and paid for in cash.

“The measure is to ensure that every peso spent is saved and usable until the day the credits are fully consumed,” Villar said.

Under the measure, imposition of an expiration period on the validity of unused prepaid call and text cards, forfeiture of load credits stored on an active prepaid phone account via prepaid call and text card or electronic transfer, and refusal to give a refund to any prepaid subscriber whose load credits were forfeited without any valid cause are declared to be unlawful.

Violators face a fine of P1 million and a jail, term of not more than six years, or both upon the discretion of the court.

If the violator is a commercial establishment or retailer, the penalty will be P500,000 for the first offense, suspension of license to engage in business for a period of thirty days for the second offense, and immediate revocation of license to engage in business for the third offense.

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