The Consumer Protection Council has directed mobile telecommunications operator, MTN Communications Nigeria Limited, to pay N1.85m to one of the winners of its Ultimate Wonder Promo for lack of due diligence.
The order, according to a statement by the spokesperson of the CPC, Abiodun Obimuyiwa, came on the heels of a complaint brought by Mr. Fidelis Chukwuma Omeje against the telecommunications company that he had been underpaid after he was declared winner of N2m in the promotion, which was held in 2012.
According to Omeje, he participated in the promo and was called through the MTN line 180 on October 10, 2012 that he had won N2m and that two days later, he got a text message informing him of the presentation ceremony fixed for October 19, 2012 in Abuja.
The complainant asserted that during the said ceremony, he was presented with a dummy cheque of N2m with his name on it, interviewed and paraded before the media and the world as the winner of the said amount.
He said that he was stunned to receive another call from the MTN line 180 on November 2, 2012 that his winning was N150,000 and was thereafter given a Verve ATM card for that amount.
MTN, in its response to the CPC’s intervention, denied the claim of Omeje, saying that he was from the onset informed that his winning was N150,000 and that the complainant deceitfully presented himself when winners in the N2m category were called forward on the day of the prize presentation.
The company stated further that Omeje’s antics were discovered during the verification of winners, which was done after the ceremony, and he was thereafter contacted through the 180 line on the misrepresentation for which he reportedly apologised.
Obimuyiwa said in the statement, “The CPC demanded the call data of the communications of October 10, 2012 when Omeje was informed of his winnings of N150,000, but MTN failed, refused and neglected to comply with the request made both in 2012 and 2016.
“The CPC, in its orders, frowned on the consistent refusal of MTN to provide the call data records evidencing details of communication with the complainant, declaring 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.
“It further declared that 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.”
The CPC, on the strength of these observations, directed MTN to pay within 14 days of receipt of the order, the sum of N1,850,000, being the unpaid part of the N2m prize won by the complainant in the 2012 MTN Ultimate Wonder Promotion.
Commenting on the issue, the Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, reaffirmed the obligation of business outfits to desist from promos that were not honest, transparent, equitable and faithful, or designed to deceive consumers.