The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has directed mobile telecommunication giant, MTN Communications Limited to pay one million, eight hundred and fifty Naira (N1,850,000) to one of the winners of its Ultimate Wonder Promo for a lack of due diligence.
CPC’s order came on the heels of a complaint brought by Omeje Chukwuma Fidelis against the telecommunications giant that he was underpaid after he was declared winner of N2 million in a sales promotion, which was held in 2012.
According to Mr. Fidelis, he participated in the promo and was informed by MTN on October 10, 2012 that he had won N2 million in the Ultimate Wonder Promo. Then, on October 12, he received a text message informing him that the presentation ceremony was fixed October 19 at the Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja.
The complainant asserted that during the ceremony, he was presented with a dummy cheque of N2 million. He was then paraded before the media and the world as the winner of N2 million.
However, roughly a month later he received a call from MTN that he would be receiving N150,000 via a Verve ATM Card instead of the promised N2 million.
MTN, in its response to the Council’s intervention, denied Mr. Fidelis’ claims, saying that he was informed from the beginning that his winnings amounted to N150,000 not N2 million
The company stated further that Mr. Fidelis’ false claims were discovered during the verification of the winners. He was subsequently contacted by MTN regarding his misrepresentation and he later apologized for his false claim.
CPC demanded the call data of the communications of October 10, 2012, in order to verify MTN’s claims. The telecommunications giant, however, has refused to comply to this demand on the two separate occasions CPC made them, once in 2012 and once in 2016.
CPC expressed disappointment with this consistent refusal on the part of MTN to provide “the call data records evidencing details of communication with the complainant”.
The group subsequently 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 [Mr. Fidelis]”.
CPC further noted that the “the process of the MTN Ultimate Wonder Promotion whereby the verification exercise was conducted after winners were identified, declared and winnings presented publicly is grossly flawed, lacking in transparency, inequitable, and apparently calculated to deceive consumers”.
CPC, on the strength of these observations, therefore directed MTN to pay within 14 days of receipt of ITS Order, the sum of N1,850,000 which constituted the missing amount owed to Mr. Fidelis.
Commenting on the issue, the CPC’s Director General, Dupe Atoki, reaffirmed the obligation of businesses to desist from promos that are not honest, transparent, equitable, and faithful.