LIME in the wrong?

FTC probes into e-billing concerns

The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) is investigating whether a move by telecommunications company LIME to charge just under $5 for printed bills is in breach of its contract with customers or “excessive, unreasonable, discriminatory or predatory”.

The FTC said today that the proposed introduction of the $4.68 charge from January 1, 2015, had raised “numerous concerns” for the commission and the matter was being examined.

A statement signed by Sir Neville Nicholls, chairman of the FTC, said “among the matters to be considered were the implications of the charge as it relates to the price adjustments under the terms and conditions of the Cable & Wireless Price Cap Plan 2012; fair competition, namely the introduction of pricing which may be deemed excessive, unreasonable, discriminatory or predatory; and consumer protection, including the contractual obligations under the Cable & Wireless Residential Terms and Conditions Agreement”.

FTC Chairman Sir Neville Nicholls
FTC Chairman Sir Neville Nicholls

In section 8.2, page 14 of LIME’s Residential Terms and Conditions, it specifically states: “We have a monthly billing period and we will send you a bill every month.”

The document further states at section 18.3, Page 32: “We will send all bills and notices under this agreement to your address stated in the application. You must tell us immediately about any change in this address. We allow 48 hours for you to receive bills and notices through the post.”

Nicholls said the FTC would “advise of its findings after examination of these and other relevant matters”.

LIME recently announced that it intends to roll out an e-billing programme that would cut operational costs, reduce paper usage, be environmentally friendly and lead to greater efficiencies.

This, the company said, was based on a survey in which about 60 per cent of its customers recorded their preference for e-billing.

In its release, LIME said the changes were not unique to that company, citing other telecoms providers as having instituted a charge “for years”.

“We are only now implementing what is a common practice for others,” LIME said.

When contacted by Barbados TODAY, the company’s corporate communications and public relations manager Marilyn Sealy said she could not give additional information regarding the release, but insisted the FTC was made aware before the notice was sent out.

A telecommunications industry source told Barbados TODAY that LIME had no authority to charge existing clients a fee for paper bills. He explained that this was a built-in cost that the company had to absorb.

“To even send out such a statement is audacious on LIME’s part, given what they have in writing in their terms and conditions . . . . They can run afoul of their own stipulations,” he said, insisting that there was nothing in the 34-page agreement that authorized any charges for paper billing.

While the FTC is looking into the matter, consumer rights advocate Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt has charged that the commission was not carrying out its job adequately, in the interest of consumers, given the time it takes to respond to matters.

In fact, the director general of the Barbados Consumer Research Association said the FTC was “failing miserably to do its job properly”.

“In my view, too much goes on that they should stamp out much earlier than they do, if they ever do. Sometimes the FTC, which receives millions of dollars from the Government each year to run its business, [fails] miserably to do its business properly. I feel that the FTC is failing miserably to properly carry out its function as a fair trading commission,”  he said.

“It is put there basically as the public watchdog . . . . I am suggesting in clear language that if the Fair Trading Commission is incapable of carrying out its functions as the public watchdog it should be closed.”

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12 Responses to LIME in the wrong?

  1. Ginger Gin
    Ginger Gin November 18, 2014 at 4:26 am

    I was waiting on this…….

  2. Hassan Taylor
    Hassan Taylor November 18, 2014 at 5:13 am

    This is why they took over flow? To make back all the money they lost at all cost?

  3. Louise King
    Louise King November 18, 2014 at 7:14 am

    always some kind of glitch—-

  4. Ryan Henry
    Ryan Henry November 18, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Even a blind man could have seen this coming, lime is never going to change its unfair predatory ways, and now with that merger that bill issue is just the first symptom of their nasty old habits that are going to pop up.
    They don’t want to do the work to be successfully competitive because they know they would lose. If you start wrong you end wrong. For years CW gave not a damn about their customers satisfaction and that’s never gonna change.

  5. Marc Egan
    Marc Egan November 18, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Just wait… Prices will rise soon… Next will be take over digi

  6. Del N-h
    Del N-h November 18, 2014 at 8:46 am

    LIME did f*ck me over once.

  7. Rickie Nurse November 18, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Please, Please, Please Digicel, step up to the plate in all areas to match that of LIME/C&W, so that the people of Barbados can give them the ….ing that they justifiably and truly deserve and I am not talking about pleasure.

  8. Margaret Lorde
    Margaret Lorde November 18, 2014 at 10:32 am

    When have they ever been right? I didn’t even comment before because this was going to happen, it was only a matter of time.

  9. Ann November 18, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Government needs to intervene in these matters. This company keeps dictating this industry in Barbados…It time the people get up and force the hand of the government to do its job to protect its people from this giant. For years LIME/CW has taken the public of Barbados for granted with their unfair measures/practices.

  10. Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey
    Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey November 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    The only way Lime, which is NOT apart of C&W any longer, can be made to understand that they are a magic ripoff artist, is when the majority of public STOP using their services and learn to do without their services and switch to another service provider, like Digi. We the public hold the power over any company to keep it open or to force it to close its doors and allow another and hopefully better service provider to enter our shores. A bent tree, cannot be straighten.

  11. Roger Manning
    Roger Manning November 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    While you are busy with the smaller issue, the merger, which is the worse thing that could happen to Barbados at this time, will be final.

  12. Ryan Henry
    Ryan Henry November 18, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    My question is why was this merger allowed to happen here knowing that it will create a monopoly which is counter productive to what Barbadians need right now. Just like previous mergers in barbados the only ppl that really benefit are the ones at the top sniffing the hefty payouts they receive while the consumers smell hell. High prices and and coupled with an ignorant government means chaos economically.


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