Saturday is World Consumer Rights Day, and the theme this year is phone rights. An estimated 6.8 billion people around the world have cell phones, and they’ve become an integral part of everyday life. The average American accesses email, the Internet, messaging, e-commerce, and games on their phones, in addition to basic functions like actual phone calls.
For World Consumer Rights Day, Consumers International is promoting an agenda that addresses the issues that affect every mobile phone consumer across the world.
1.) Provide consumers with access to an affordable, reliable service
2.) Provide consumers with fair contracts explained in clear, complete, and accessible language
3.) Provide consumers with fair and transparent billing
4.) Provide consumers with security and power over their own information
5.) Listen and respond to consumer complaints
Basically, Consumers International wants the phone companies to make mobile phones affordable and accessible to everybody. Instead of complicated and expensive phone contracts, the phones should not cost an arm and a leg, and the contract terms and conditions should be very clearly spelled out so that consumers can make informed choices.
Most relevant in today’s world, number four addresses the reality that telecom providers should be protecting the personal data that consumers provide. Consumers often give consent to use personal data to enhance the mobile experience, but the consumer should be able to set the terms of how this personal data is used. I am always blown away by how my phone uses personal data that I never specifically provided.
For example, I get a popup from my phone if there is traffic on my usual route to work – however, I never provided my phone my work location. It either figured out where I go five days a week, or it pulled it from my Facebook account. Though a useful feature, it was still rather disturbing the first time it happened to me.
To get involved in the conversation, visit the World Consumer Rights Day website.