TCF to meet in Dodoma to protect digital users

The commemoration events to take place at the Mwalimu Nyerere Conference Hall at the Institute of Rural Development and Planning will, among others, gather representatives from the Consumer Consultative Councils of EWURA, SUMATRA, TCAA, TCRA as well as the Fair Competition Commission.

TCF is an independent non statutory body pooling together consumer protection and awareness efforts.

Themed "Consumer Rights in the Digital Age,” the 2017 World Consumer Rights Day, the independent World Consumer Rights Body calls for improvements of digital services in order to boost consumer confidence amid the rapid increase of its users.

Dodoma Regional Commissioner Jordan Rugimbana and the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Jenista Mhagama are among the dignitaries expected to grace the meeting.

Currently, about 3 billion people, which is about 40 per cent of the world population have an access to digital services compared to mere 1 per cent about 20 years ago.

Last year Tanzania recorded 45 milion people registered in mobile money services, which involve huge sums of money in terms of transactions, calling for reliable digital services.

But there was also quite a number of clients who had complained of being conned by unscrupulous online and digital service providers including e-commerce platforms.

Some digital service providers have also been charging excessive fees and some hidden charges to online shoppers in the digital platforms while supplying them with shoddy and substandard goods in return. Some consumers have also expressed predicaments of being conned in mobile money services.

As the digital services consumers number is set to rise at a faster pace, the importance for the stricter and better protection mechanisms, legal framework and requisite technology to curtail unrully digital service providers, cannot be understated.

The same will ensure sustainable sector growth as well as better protection of consumers of digital and mobile money services.

The UN General Assembly has passed Resolution 70/186 on Consumer Protection, which among other things, clearly specify Financial Services and E-Commerce services being among additional areas for formal consumer protection, giving consumers legitimate rights to be protected in these areas.

Tanzania has already registered substantial milestone in spearheading protecting consumers in the digital age. It has already passed the Payment Systems Act 2015 and its regulations of the same year including the Electronic Transactions Act.