In an effort to further exceed its customers expectation (that is how they are calling it), Ufoneis going to charge its customers 2 percent maintenance fee plus tax on every load, reload, card load, Ushare, etc.

Earlier this maintenance fee was 1.1 percent of card reload value.

In simpler words, when you will load a Rs. 100 card next time, Rs. 2.39 will be deducted in addition to all deductions that were applicable already.

This new maintenance charge will be applicable from March 17th, 2012. Here’s what a notice appearing on Ufone website read:

Dear Customer, To further exceed your expectations, a maintenance charge of 2% will be applicable on every prepaid recharge from 17th March, 2012 along with government taxes.

This new wave of additional charges was started when Telenor announced 2 percent service charge (exactly one month ago) in addition to 5 percent charge it was already deducting.

It is likely that other operators will follow this and additional charges will be imposed, industry wide.

Even worse, PTA (through Dr. Muhammad Yasin, Chairman) officially told Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat last week that authority could not ask operators to fix service charges. Dr. Yasin said that setting a ceiling price is impossible because the cost of operators has gone up due to increase in power tariff.

Committee members had proposed PTA to fix a ceiling on account of service charges that cellular operators regularly impose on mobile phone customers. But it appears authority is siding the telecom companies, leaving behind its motto of protecting consumers.

After PTA’s this decision of not regulating service charges, Competition Commission of Pakistan is the only hope for consumers, which can restrict operators from imposing such charges at industry level.

It merits mentioning here that government is also considering to impose 2 % radio tax on every reload from July 2012.

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