A former Grenada Senator who is now a Pastor believes that telecommunications provider, Flow should be made to be held accountable for the “unethical” standards that it is operating under in the delivery of its internet service on the island.
Devon Rachae, who served as an opposition Senator in 2008 after the New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell was voted out of office, made the charge last week Thursday in an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper.
Rachae said that a petition is in the making as a form of protest against the unsatisfactory internet service that many people been complaining about in recent months about Flow.
According the Rachae, it is his hope that the petition which will start at the beginning of September, will garner enough signatures from the public to get Flow management to take responsibility for not holding up to their end of the contract they gave customers to sign up to when seeking internet service.
“What we have is a situation whereby customers have been complaining that they are dissatisfied with the service delivery of Flow and with the lack of service they get when they contact Flow customer service line concerning their complaints”, he said.
The former parliamentarian cited the most predominant complaint coming from customers is the level of Internet Speed that they are receiving from Flow.
Rachae said it is unfair for customers to be paying for a service they are not receiving.
“Flow is charging customers based on speed that they are supposed to receive. The last time Flow raised their rates, they have said the justification for that increase had to do with their plan to offer greater speed to the customers and therefore, the customers had to pay more”, he told THE NEW TODAY.
“Customers didn’t have a choice as to whether they pay more or not, everybody was made to pay more, but over the last couple months, if not a year, we have seen the number of complaints increase to proportions that require attention from Flow and Flow has been unresponsive to those complaints,” he said.
Rachae charged that Flow is aware of the problem but has seemingly turned a blind eye to the issue, as there is no indication that it is willing to compensate customers for the inadequate service they have been receiving.
“We have persons who have done speed tests on their systems which shows that they are not receiving the speed that they are paying for and that have been brought to the attention of Flow and we have not received (a) response in terms of improving the speed or crediting the individuals for the lack of delivery of the service that they are paying for…”, he remarked.
“I believe that, that is unethical. If somebody is paying for a service and they are not receiving the service that you have promised to offer in the contract, the company has an ethical and moral responsibility to address that problem or credit the person for their lack of delivery of the promised service,” he said.
Rachae noted that switching service provider might be the easiest thing to do in the process but believes the company needs to be held accountable.
He said: “When they have problems that they know they have, for example, you have situations, whereby in a geographical area, they’re having fibre optic problems and their customers are not able to get proper internet service, Flow will still charge or bill the customer the same amount on a monthly basis, even if they are aware, the service is not delivered…now that is not ethical business practice, you can’t do that to people…”.
“Some people may say, well switch – switching is an easy thing for some persons but based on the location, they do not have the opportunity to switch because the alternative service providers are not in their area.
“So, while it may be easy to say switch, I don’t think that is the issue, the issue is that Flow needs to operate by some type of ethical standard and in my view Flow is not upholding those ethical standards because they are not delivering to many of their customers the service for which the customers are paying.”
The former NNP executive member contended that Flow needs to be made to understand how its lack of internet service is affecting customers and he believes the petition can do just that.
“We want to establish a petition that we intend to send to Flow’s management, so that Flow can give attention to the problem and see the magnitude of how this problem is affecting their customers.
“(I am) calling on the management of Flow to give credit to customers in cases where there is lack of service delivery and the customers (are) able to present evidence that they are not receiving the service for which they are paying.
“So, If a customer does a speed test and they are not receiving the speed over a period of time, for a reason that has to do with Flow side, we want to petition that Flow will credit the customer or not charge the customer for this if they are not getting the service that Flow is guaranteeing them in contract that they will receive.
Rachae stated that if Flow fails to respond to the petition then the next course of action will be a protest action against the company in order to get a meeting with management to “secure commitment from them to seriously address the issue with certain timelines.”
He also sees a role for government in addressing the inadequate internet service provided by the telecommunications company.
“We know that it is not a governmental issue but we believe that there needs to be some regulation whether it’s NTRC or some other customer agency, or regulatory agency that has to ensure that such businesses deliver the services as promised to customers because internet service is not just a leisure, internet service is necessary…,” he said.
Ex-Senator Rachae did not rule out the possibility of “legal action” against Flow since the issue at hand is a very far-reaching one.