Vodacom Lesotho Consumer Protection Code

Read in Sesotho

    Vodacom Lesotho (“Vodacom”) is committed to protecting the rights of our valued subscribers and/or Customers in the provision of the licensed services and has developed this Consumer Protection Code in line with the Lesotho Communications Authority (“LCA”) (Administrative) Rules 2016 and the Consumer Protection Guidelines (2022) (“Guidelines”) issued by the Lesotho Communications Authority (“LCA”) to demonstrate our commitment to protecting our customer’s rights and resolving their Complaints where they are unhappy with our service.

    This commitment is not just a compliance requirement, but a standard we hold ourselves accountable to, working closely with our subscribers and consumers to ensure that we provide innovative solutions, products, and services that respond to their needs and offer them a good Customer experience when they access and use our products and services, including a complaints handling procedure for resolving their Complaints where they are unhappy with our service.

    Vodacom is licensed to provide communications services and to operate an electronic communication network (GSM mobile national and international voice and data network) under a Unified Telecommunications license (“Unified license”). Under its license, Vodacom offers a wide range of electronic communication services to its Prepaid and Postpaid subscribers, using various technologies such as WI-MAX, 3G, LTE, 5G, and leased lines to provide dedicated internet to our corporate customers

    Vodacom commits to the following principles:
    1. Protecting consumer’s rights when they use and access our services.
    2. Offering products and services that are Customer-centric (simple and clear to understand)
    3. Working with our Customers to get feedback on how to serve them better.
    4. Providing sufficient information to our customers to enable them to make informed choices. This includes providing Terms and Conditions of products and services and including tariffs available on our website.
    5. Protecting our customers from unfair business practices, false or misleading marketing, and forms of anti-competitive behavior.
    6. Providing our customers with clear, easy-to-understand service agreements/contracts for Postpaid subscribers.
    7. Providing quality services to our customers in compliance with the Quality of Services Rules (2023)
    8. Putting in place procedures and measures to address our customers’ queries, inquiries, and complaints and providing channels through which they can talk to us if they are unhappy with our services.

    We outline below how we protect our customers’ rights highlighting the specific rights outlined in the LCA Guidelines.
    1. The Right to access our services.
      Our customers can access the licensed services i.e. voice, SMS, and data on our network using the self-service menu (USSD), my Vodacom App, and walk into our retail stores including our distribution network. However, to access our services, customers must first register their SIM card with us in line with the SIM Card Registration Regulations (2021) which applies to telecommunication service providers and users of telecommunication services.

      Failure to register a SIM card(s) will result in suspension and deactivation of such a SIM card(s) which will impact a customer’s right to access our services. Customers are therefore encouraged to do the right thing and register their SIM Card before 31 January 2024, or such date as determined by the Authority.

      1. SIM Card Life Cycle
        Vodacom SIM card(s) (new and existing) have a life cycle of 7 months in line with Vodacom Number Policy. A SIM card life cycle means a timeframe when your SIM Card remains active on our network before it is terminated. To ensure that a SIM card remains active on the network, Customers must make a billable activity. A billable activity refers to any activity where a customer uses our products and services which they are charged for. This can be a simple action such as making a call, sending an SMS, or using data.
        Please note:
        Recharging an account does not extend the SIM card lifecycle.

        Should a customer not make a billable activity within 7 months following activation and/or registration of a customer’s SIM card, it will be suspended for 5 months, and it will subsequently be deactivated and/or churned at the end of the 12 months. When a SIM card is deactivated, it will be recycled and the customer will forfeit any airtime, and resources (data or bundles) on the number. The customer will also forfeit the right to use the specific number which will become available to any customer at Vodacom’s discretion.

        Please note:
        1. Customers do not own numbers but have a right of use to the same.
        2. If a SIM Card is churned/ recycled, any M-Pesa credit associated with the SIM card will be kept in a separate account for a customer redemption and if unclaimed, it will be regarded as unclaimed funds in line with the Payment System Regulations (2017). The process for redemption of mobile money is managed separately by VCL Financials Services licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Lesotho.

      2. SIM card replacement procedure
        Vodacom offers a SIM card swap service to its customers. This service is available to Customers who need to replace their SIM cards provided the number has not been recycled. The service is available at the Vodacom retail stores countrywide at a minimal fee which we will communicate to the customer upon a customer’s request of the service.

        To request a SIM swap service, customers are required to bring their identity documentation for verification of their identity. Further, please note that when a customer requests a SIM Swap service, he/she will be asked questions intended to ascertain ownership of the SIM card to mitigate against fraud. Upon a satisfactory response to the security questions posed by Vodacom, the customer will be promptly reconnected to the Vodacom network.

    2. Right to receive Quality of service.
      Vodacom provides services in compliance with the LCA Quality-of-Service Rules (QoS) (2023) and strives to meet the Quality-of-Service standards set by the Lesotho Communications Authority from time to time in relation to licensed services.

      Vodacom further guarantees that our service level agreements entered with our customers are provided at the set Quality of Service targets under the QoS Rules and that our advertised offerings for data include minimum guaranteed speeds. We also ensure that our customers are provided with sufficient information regarding the quality of service for them to make informed decisions.

      In addition, Vodacom provides monthly performance reports to the Authority which outline our performance against each of the key parameters under the QoS Rules covering both network parameters and Customer service parameters. A customer can access the LCA Rules here (www.lca.org.ls) . A customer can also find our QoS performance on our website (www.vodacom.co.ls).

      1. What to do when the Vodacom’s service is unavailable.
        1. Please contact the Vodacom Contact Center (114/155). The Contact Centre has information on all service-affecting problems on the network that are detected by the Network Management and will promptly respond to such notification to ensure that the problem is fixed.
        2. Vodacom network uses up-to-date equipment and, provided a customer is making a call or accessing any internet service in an area where service is available, a customer should not experience any difficulties or poor service. However, if a customer has trouble, they must: (i) hang up and (ii) check that there is a signal on their cellular phone, and then (ii) redial the number they intended to call. If a customer still experiences difficulties after taking the above steps, they must call the Vodacom Contact Centre
        3. If a customer is using any other equipment to which a modem is connected, they must contact the nearest Vodacom retail store to get assistance with troubleshooting to identify the source of the problem and /or lodge a complaint using a compliant form. Vodacom will strive to contact the customer within five (5) working days on the details provided by the customer on the said Complaint form for due advice / and or resolution of the fault. Vodacom will nonetheless strive to provide feedback as soon as practically possible.
        4. Vodacom enters into Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with internet users and these agreements define the points of contact for the resolution of faults relating to access to the Vodacom Lesotho network. Users of these services are therefore required to contact the specified contacts at the Vodacom offices to log their requests for resolution of faults.

    3. Right to Freedom of Choice
      Vodacom guarantees customers the freedom of choice regarding our products and services. We do not coerce customers to access and use the same and strive to give them sufficient information about our services so that they sign up, subscribe to, and use them with a clear understanding. We also encourage our customers to ask any questions before using our services.

    4. Right to clear Service contracts
      1. Our customers are provided with contracts at the commencement of services. We encourage them to request and take a copy of the contract once signed and to freely ask for clarity where they have questions.
      2. Our Contracts are written in clear and easy-to-understand language and are available in both Sesotho and English, the two official languages in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
      3. Our Contracts also provide for early termination and exit at the instance of the Customer.
      4. We also provide general information on contract Terms and Conditions on our website, (www.vodacom.co.ls)

    5. Right to timely, clear, and accurate billing and prepaid account charging
      Vodacom tariffs (charges and usage charges) are regulated by the LCA. Our approved tariffs are published on the website (www.vodacom.co.ls). Vodacom also notifies customers of changes in tariffs through SMS notifications and other channels before they are implemented, to allow customers to be aware of the changes likely to impact them so that they can make informed choices on whether they continue with the service, migrate to another service and/or terminate the same.

      1. Charging and Billing
        Vodacom only charges customers for the services they have agreed to purchase or subscribe to, in line with the approved charges. Further, Vodacom provides timely, clear, and accurate billing for Postpaid services and Prepaid account charging. For convenience, Vodacom also provides electronic bills to Postpaid subscribers. The bills have our logo and outline the date, item, reference, description, and amounts used for the relevant month for which the subscriber used the services. The itemized call charges and data usage charges are outlined in the itemized bill, which is provided upon request due to the size of the file. For data records, the data sessions are grouped per day so that the document does not exceed the file size of 2MB; to enable the documents to be shared via email.

        1. Credit Limit
          Vodacom offers a credit limit facility to Postpaid Customers which allows them to make other ad hoc events i.e., purchasing bundles and making out of bundle events beyond their allocated bundles, provided they have opted in on OOB charging. Vodacom has a discretionary right to increase and/or decrease a customer’s credit based on the Customer credit creditworthiness and payment record. The Customer bill limit will include the subscription amount for the service and the credit limit granted by Vodacom to the Customer.

        2. Installation and Connection Fee
          Vodacom may also, require payment of a connection or installation fee before or after a customer gets connected to the network. We will notify a customer where such a fee is required before a customer uses our services. This fee(s) is a contractual fee between the Customer and Vodacom and is intended to mitigate risk where such exists. It does not form part of the charge related to the provision of the communication service and will be refunded to the Customer at the end of the contract if the conditions attached to it have been fulfilled.

        3. Prepaid services
          Prepaid plans and rates are displayed on the Vodacom website. Prepaid Customers may check their airtime balance free of charge by dialing 151 for a voice recording or *100# for a display of their balance on their cellphone’s screen.

        4. Contract:
          Vodacom will issue an invoice that outlines the charges regarding a customer’s usage of the product subscribed for. Postpaid subscribers are billed monthly for subscription charges, call and data charges, and any other charges the Customer has subscribed and /or used such as roaming subscriber equipment, additional apparatus, and additional services taken as part of the Package. These services will be incorporated into the bill but will be identified separately.

          Our bills outline itemized call charges/data usage charges to their designated physical or email address which will usually include the following details:
          Voice usage for each call, made (for call charges):
          1. The date and time of the call
          2. The number called
          3. Duration of the call
          4. The total charge for that call
          5. Total monthly bill

          Data Usage
          1. The date and time of the connection
          2. The date and time of the connection
          3. Total charge for each connection
          4. Total monthly bill
          We encourage and request our customers to ensure that their invoices are accurate and aligned with their contracts.

        5. Bundled Services
          Vodacom offers bundles resources in the form of voice, data, SMS, and integrated bundles. Currently, we offer hourly, daily, 3-day, weekly, and monthly bundles available to Customers including Just4You. The validity of the bundles depends on the type of bundle purchased. Bundles are accessed through USSD, M-Pesa, and My Vodacom App.

          Vodacom has implemented smart notifications which allow customers to monitor and have control of their data usage. A customer will be notified when their usage reaches 50%, 80%, and 100%. We have further enhanced our services to give our customers the option to purchase additional bundles through a bundle upsell service which gives customers an option to buy an additional bundle from the approved Just4You portfolio currently.

        6. Out-of-bundle (OOB) charging
          In line with the LCA Directive of 2020, Vodacom has implemented a mechanism that allows customers to manage their airtime usage and avoid bill shock when their bundle (data and/or voice) expires, depletes, or where a customer has not bought a bundle. Customers can opt-in and opt-out of OOB at any time.

          OOB Principle
          Our customers do not automatically transition to out of bundle and are not charged 00B without their express consent.
          We outline below the key features of our 00B charging mechanism for both data and voice:
          1. Data
            1. A default 00B blocking applies for all new and existing customers who purchase bundles (including prepaid roaming bundles) in relation to data usage.
            2. Customers have the option to allow 00B charging by opting into the service using the USSD string *111# and through a direct string *111*25#.
            3. A customer who has opted into 00B charging shall automatically transition to 00B upon depletion or expiry of a bundle purchased and their continued access to services shall be charged directly from airtime at the applicable 00B rate.
            4. Customers who have NOT opted into 00B charging shall have access to data services until expiry and /or depletion of the bundle purchased. Their access shall be cut off once the bundle expires and/or is depleted and they shall NOT automatically transition to 00B charging.
            5. Customers shall be able to opt-in and opt out of 00B bundle charging as many times as they wish on *111# and shall be able to change their 00B blocking preference.
            6. Customers shall receive SMS notifications when they opt in and out of 00B charging.
            7. If a customer elects to opt-out of 00B charging, he/she shall no longer be charged 00B and he/she shall be required to opt-in thereto to enable 00B charging.
            8. Our customers can also contact the Vodacom Contact Center for all 00B-related issues assistance from the Contact Center.
          2. Voice
            1. When the bundle depletes or expires customers do not automatically transition to airtime charging. However, OOB Calls are allowed where customers have not purchased voice bundles.
            2. When a voice bundle depletes or expires during a call, the call terminates, and the customer does not automatically transition into airtime "00B" charging unless they have opted into airtime charging.
            3. Customers shall receive a flash message (SMS) when the call terminates because of the bundle depletion or expiry.
            4. If the Customer does not purchase a new bundle and re-initiates the call after it terminates, the call is allowed, and the Customer is charged from the airtime if they have a positive balance.
            5. If they do not have a positive balance when the call is initiated, the call will not go through, and the normal insufficient notification will be displayed.
            6. Customers can opt into Airtime charging via USSD string (*111#) and select the self-service option and may opt-out at any time by calling the Vodacom Customer Contact Centre (114) free of charge.
            7. A detailed explanation of how the Vodacom OOB mechanism operates for voice and data, please visit our website (www.vodacom.co.ls)

      2. Paying a Bill
        1. Bills should be paid to Vodacom on or before the date specified on a customer’s bill or contract with Vodacom Lesotho. For clarity, invoices must be settled within 30 days of the issue of the invoice.
        2. If a customer disputes a bill when it is presented to him/her, he/she should contact our nearest retail office, and complete the complaint form for his/her query to be resolved by Vodacom in line with our customer complaints handling procedure.
        3. If a customer is unable to pay his/her bill as agreed with Vodacom, the service may be disconnected, and he/she will be charged a reconnection fee to reconnect him/her.
        4. If a customer is not able to pay his/her bill in full, he/she can contact the Vodacom credit control office timeously for assistance on how to settle the bill or negotiate a payment plan as agreed with Vodacom to prevent disconnection of the service, and further legal action being taken against him/her to recover the outstanding payment. Steps taken in this regard are entirely at the discretion of Vodacom. Vodacom will notify the customer before suspension and/or termination of the service. Vodacom will also not switch the customer to another service or migrate him/her without consent.
        5. Vodacom discontinues/terminates services for non-payment only and, not for a disputed charge provided the customer continues to pay the undisputed claim/charge.

      3. Billing Enquiries
        1. Billing queries will be checked from our toll ticketing system that records a customer’s call and results will be shared with the customer. If a fault affecting the charge for the call is found, a customer’s bill will be adjusted accordingly.
        2. Vodacom endeavors to ensure that the billing information supplied is complete and accurate.
        3. All enquiries about a bill or an account should be directed to Vodacom Lesotho’s credit control department at the following email address (CreditCtrl@vodacom.co.ls) .
        4. We strive to respond to bill enquiries within 2 working days

      4. Reconnection of service
        1. If a customer has been disconnected due to his/her default on payment of a bill, he/she shall submit an application or request to be reconnected to the service.
        2. The customer shall be required to settle all outstanding fees under the contract before he/she is reconnected to the service.
        3. Vodacom will reconnect the customer within 2 days of receipt of payment. Vodacom may not charge a disconnection and/or reconnection fee if a customer has given due notice of cancellation upon expiry of the initial contract period and/or any subsequent extensions thereof.
        4. If the customer is wrongfully disconnected or wrongfully charged for disconnection and/or reconnection, they must please visit the nearest Vodacom retail store and complete a customer Complaint Form explaining the circumstances to Vodacom. If indeed the customer was charged wrongfully, Vodacom will issue a credit note and adjust his/her next bill accordingly.

    6. Right to be informed and consumer education.
      In an endeavor to ensure that our customers are informed about our products, services, and processes, Vodacom undertakes initiatives intended to educate them through the different channels and touchpoints. We communicate with our customers through radio and print media targeted at different target markets.

      We provide information about our products and services available at our retail stores, social media platforms, Contact Center, and on our website (www.vodacom.co.ls). We also carry out market storms targeting different districts in Lesotho to ensure that we reach every Mosotho and interact personally with them.

      Further, our customers are notified of any changes we intend to put in place through SMS, this includes changes to our rates and/or tariffs before implementing the same. The above initiatives are intended to empower and educate our customers.

      Moreover, our customer education and advertising are done in Sesotho and English, but our advertising is mostly in Sesotho to demonstrate our commitment to Customer centricity and experience.

    7. Right to Privacy
      At the heart of our service delivery is protecting our customers’ right to privacy, which is not only a consumer right protection issue, but our license commitment.

      Vodacom is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers and has put in place measures to ensure that all confidential information and communication is protected. We have a fully-fledged privacy program and a privacy statement on our website (privacy statement) which outlines how we manage and process personal information.

      We process customer’s personal information only to provide customers with the services they have asked for and for the development and improvement of the said services. Thus, a customer’s information will only be shared with his/her consent, and/or only within the legal parameters in terms of the applicable law allowing for disclosure, e.g., through a court order or to comply with a regulatory request from the Authority.

      We also protect our customers against unsolicited communication and marketing messages by giving A customer the option to opt-out from receiving such, by calling the Contact Center or dialing *276#.

    8. Right to fairness and non-discrimination
      All Vodacom Customers are treated fairly, equally and suffer no discrimination in our stores. In an effort to improve customer experience, we have segmented our customers into Enterprise Customers which are served through key accounts, and further classified our customers into High Value, Mass Value, Low Value, and Youth customers to offer targeted and value-oriented propositions.

    9. Right to be protected against market abuse.
      Vodacom strives to compete on service availability, price, and quality and undertakes not to engage in anti-competitive behavior, which is likely to impede and distort competition to the detriment of consumers. Vodacom has implemented a competition law compliance Programme for its staff intended to raise awareness of anti-competitive behavior and abuse of market power. This is done periodically for commercial teams, but also as part of the onboarding process for new employees.
      Where untoward behavior is picked up from a competition compliance perspective, we remedy the same to ensure compliance and mitigate the risks.

    10. Right to health and safety
      To protect our customer’s health and ensure their safety, Vodacom sells equipment (phones, modems, and other terminal and network equipment) that are fit for consumption. In this regard, all equipment used on our network has been Type approved by the Authority. Type approval is a process that confirms that equipment used on the network does not present health and safety hazards to the public or users.

      The Authority maintains a list of all equipment that has been type-approved and fit for human consumption on our network.

    Vodacom is committed to delivering quality service to Customers. In this regard, queries, enquiries, and complaints are attended to in a professional manner, and within a specified period. The types of consumer complaints to lodge may include the following: Service provision issues relating to connection, billing information, faults, timely provision of service, automatic service renewal contracts, etc.

    In addition to the above, Vodacom Customers have a right to complain where they are not satisfied with our services and resolution of their grievances. Our complaints handling process is outlined below.

    1. Vodacom Customer Touch Points for lodging complaints
      The Vodacom Contact Center is the first point of contact for our customers, and it is accessible free of charge to all Customers. The Contact Center is available from 06:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight daily, including on weekends and public holidays.

      Vodacom Contact Center agents are available to assist if the customer requires more information about our products, services, or their proper use and to obtain any services a customer requires. Vodacom Contact Center assists Customers with all queries and complaints regarding Vodacom products and services. Our retail stores also provide support and assistance to our customers and are the channels where a customer must formally lodge their grievances using the customer handling process outlined in this document.

      Vodacom’s social media pages are also available to customers to give us feedback on how to improve service delivery etc. However, customers cannot formally lodge complaints on these platforms

      Vodacom Consultants at our retail stores will provide a copy of Vodacom’s complaints form to any Customer who requests a copy; in addition, there will be a copy on the Vodacom website. Should the customer not be satisfied with the response received, he/she must request and duly complete a Complaint form and follow the process below including the escalation matrix.

      Complaints are to be lodged as per the Customer complaints form (attached and available in our retail stores)

    2. Lodging a Complaint
      1. Where a customer is not satisfied with the manner and/or attention that was given to his /her problem or query, they must visit our nearest Vodacom Store and request a customer complaint form to fill out for lodging a formal complaint with Vodacom.
      2. This form will also be available for any complaint which a customer may wish to lodge with Vodacom. The Customer Care consultant will readily and courteously attempt to resolve the customer’s complaint.
      3. When submitting a complaint, a customer must provide the Customer Care consultant with his/her name, account number, contact details, and the nature of the complaint to give Vodacom sufficient details to understand and investigate the complaint. There may be instances, due to the nature and complexity of the problem or complaint, where Vodacom may need more time to investigate the matter.
      4. Upon receiving a complaint, the Customer Care consultant will register the complaint and allocate it a unique reference number which shall serve as a reference for the customer to enable Vodacom and/or the Authority to identify it. When lodging a complaint to a service provider, a consumer may send a copy of the complaint to the Authority for information purposes only as he/she must first exhaust available remedies within Vodacom.
      5. Should a customer still be dissatisfied with the outcome of the above process and have exhausted all other options, he/she can further escalate the complaint. Throughout the process, a customer should also keep a proper record of all correspondence with Vodacom, the date and time that the complaint was communicated to Vodacom, and the name of the Customer care consultant who attended to the customer’s complaint, as well as the action promised to address the situation.

    3. Time Frame for lodging and resolution of complaints
      A consumer who is aggrieved by Vodacom should lodge a complaint with the service provider within a period of ninety (90) days from the date the service was provided or as per the agreement with the service provider.

      Vodacom and its Distribution agents endeavor to respond to complaints promptly and as soon as practically possible to give customers a better Customer experience. We will also strive to resolve customer complaints within 2 working days from the date of receipt of the complaint and we will provide an explanation to the customer if we are unable to resolve the complaint within 2 working days.

      For fault resolution, we will resolve within five (5) working days from the date of receipt of the complaint, and we will attempt to resolve all complaints within twenty (20) working days from receipt of the customer’s complaint.

    4. Escalation Path
      If A customer is not satisfied with our response regarding his/her complaint, how it was handled, and/or the time it took to resolve it, the customer can escalate his/her complaint as follows.
      1. Request to speak to the Store Supervisor or Account Manager for Enterprise clients.
      2. Request to speak to the Retail Manager or Sales manager for Enterprise clients.
      3. Request to speak to the Executive Head of Division - Commercial Operations or Enterprise Business Unit
      4. Request to speak to the Chief Executive Officer
      Each of the above contact persons shall respond within one (1) day of escalation and their contact numbers shall be provided to A customer by the Consultant.

    5. Lodging a Complaint with the Authority
    6. If a customer is still not satisfied after exhausting all possible avenues to resolve his/her problem, they may lodge their complaint with the Lesotho Communications Authority (the Authority).

    7. Complaints escalated to the Authority should include the following:
      1. Name, account, or subscriber number and contact details of the complainant.
      2. Name of the service provider.
      3. Nature of the complaint – stating full facts, clearly and concisely.
      4. The date of the original complaint lodged with the service provider and reference number.
      5. Copies of record of correspondence of complaints with the service provider, where available; and
      6. The remedy sought by the complainant.

    8. LCA contacts
      The LCA telephone number and addresses are as follows and are accessible during working hours (08hr00 – 12hr45 and 14hr00 – 17hr00)

      Contact details
      LCA Toll-Free Number – 101
      Email: (complaints@lca.org.ls)
      WhatsApp number: 62002021

      Written complaints should be addressed to:
      The Chief Executive Officer
      Lesotho Communications Authority
      30 Princess Margaret Road,
      Old Europa,
      Maseru 100, Lesotho

    1. Vodacom website: (www.vodacom.co.ls)
    2. Customer care Email: customer.care@vodacom.co.ls
    3. Vodacom Contact Center Line
      Mobile: 114 (toll-free)
      Vodacom Enterprise Line - 155(toll free)

    Box 7387
    Maseru 100