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PURA Launches Customer Help Desk

Jul 14, 2008, 8:10 AM | Article By: By Abba A.S. Gibba

Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), the institution established to regulate corporate services and goods delivery to the general public, such as telecommunications, electricity, water and sewerage, broadcasting and transport sectors in the country, on Thursday launched its Customer Affairs Helpdesk Service.

The service was launched by Dr. Malick Njie, Secretary of State for Health and Social Welfare on behalf of His Excellency the President of The Republic of The Gambia at PURA's head office situated at 1 Paradise Beach Palace, Bertil Harding Highway, Kololi.

The new service is designed to put in place an impartial and effective consumer complaints resolution mechanism related to telecommunications, electricity, water and sewerage services as mandated by the PURA Act 2001.

With the service, the general public will be able to access a free service that helps them resolve problems that their service providers failed to solve for whatever reason. In furtherance of the service, customers are advised to dial number 148 free of charge,from any telephone handset, or walk into PURA's head office, or send a fax or email in which they can lodge complaints that will be handled and resolved within a clear timeline.

Currently PURA regulates the following sectors and utilities, NAWEC, GAMTEL, GAMCEL, AFRICELL, COMIUM and all Internet Service Providers.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Alagi B. Gaye, Director General of PURA, indicated that the principle that underlines PURA's complaints resolution mechanism is that Helpdesk is not a first port of call for complaints. He explained that complaints must first be lodged with the regulated service provider whose services or products they are not happy or satisfied with, adding that after doing so and only when specific time has elapsed, the complaint could use PURA's Help Desk service, by either dialling number 148 or walking to their offices and seeing a Customer Affairs Assistant or sending an email to: 148@pura.gm

"From today onwards, consumers of communication services, that is: telephone (fixed and wireless), prepaid calling cards, Internet services (i.e. VSAT domestic services), and consumers of electricity, water and sewerage services who are dissatisfied with services rendered to them by any operator or service provider, have the right to seek remedy of the situation by lodging a complaint to the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA)."

He added that the particulars of the complaint, such as name, address, phone number, fax or email, must be furnished, as well as the problem being faced and its duration.

He revealed that among the things customers could complain about are: wrong billing, arbitrary disconnection of service, care free attitude towards genuine complaints, poor service delivery, untruthful and deceptive advertisement and supply of substandard equipment.

Other speakers included Mr. Siring Cham, Permanent Secretary, Department of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Abdoulie Touray, Chairperson, Board of Directors of PURA.

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