Econet slapped with $50k law­suit

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Daniel Ne­mukuyu Harare Bureau

ECONET Wire­less Pri­vate Limited has come un­der fire for re­port­edly rip­ping off clients through its What­sApp daily data bun­dle fa­cil­ity that doesn’t last a day as ad­ver­tised.

And an ag­grieved Harare woman has slapped the mo­bile net­work op­er­a­tor with a $50 000 law­suit for this breach.

The woman, Ms Sihle Max­ine Mabuda, has also been cleared by po­lice to stage a peace­ful demon­stra­tion against Econet in the cap­i­tal city on Novem­ber 25.

Ms Mabuda said she pur­chased What­sApp data bun­dles for 30 cents af­ter learn­ing from ad­ver­tise­ments flighted by Econet that she would en­joy the ser­vice for a full day.

It later turned out that 30 cents bought only 20 megabytes of data which do not last for a day as per ad­ver­tise­ment.

When she tried to call her daugh­ter in South Africa via a What­sApp voice call, Ms Mabuda re­alised that the bun­dles were not suf­fi­cient to make the call.

Ms Mabuda, in her dec­la­ra­tion, con­tends that Econet is mis­rep­re­sent­ing the du­ra­tion of its data bun­dles as a mar­ket­ing gim­mick.

“The de­fen­dant is mis­rep­re­sent­ing the du­ra­tion of its data bun­dles, in par­tic­u­lar the daily What­sApp data bun­dle. De­fen­dant ad­ver­tises that it is un­lim­ited for 24 hours yet it is limited to 20 megabytes data,” she ar­gues.

“As a re­sult of the mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion by the de­fen­dant to its clients, in­clud­ing the plain­tiff, the plain­tiff was in­con­ve­nienced be­cause she failed to talk to her daugh­ter in South Africa through phone,” reads the plain­tiff ’s dec­la­ra­tion.

Af­ter check­ing with the Econet of­fices, Ms Mabuda said she was in­formed the whole is­sue was a mar­ket­ing gim­mick to lure clients.

“Af­ter a pro­tracted ar­gu­ment with the de­fen­dant’s cus­tomer care desk of­fi­cials through the phone, she (Ms Mabuda) was asked to go to the de­fen­dant’s Liv­ing­stone Av­enue of­fices where she had a meet­ing with Econet’s man­ager for Chisip­ite branch and other of­fi­cials. They told her that Econet daily bun­dle does not nec­es­sar­ily mean it is sup­posed to last for 24 hours con­trary to their mes­sage which is dis­played on the phones and Po­traz was aware of such a mar­ket­ing strat­egy,” reads the dec­la­ra­tion.

Ms Mabuda wants dam­ages to the tune of $50 000 plus in­ter­est cal­cu­lated at the rate of five per­cent from the date of is­suance of sum­mons to the date of judg­ment.

She also wants Econet to be com­pelled to pay costs of the suit.

Econet Wire­less is yet to re­spond to the law­suit.

Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing Harare Sub­ur­ban Po­lice Dis­trict, Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Regis Takaitei Chitekwe has since al­lowed Ms Mabuda to hold a demon­stra­tion against the mo­bile net­work op­er­a­tor.

The Min­is­ter of Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment, Dr Jo­ram Gumbo, un­veils a plaque at Siziyakhele-Mt­shabezi Bridge yes­ter­day. Next to him is DDF Mata­bele­land South co­or­di­na­tor, Mr Dou­glas Dube

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