The Indonesian Cellular Telecommunications Association reported that the mobile subscribers in Indonesia already reached 250 million in 2011. This number exceeds the 240-million Indonesian population in 2013. Unfortunately, the quality of mobile services available in the market did not match the need of the consumers. Due to technological and knowledge gap, a number of consumer rights violations increase over the years.
The case of soaring phone bills is among the most complained cases in the country. Post-paid consumers bear long and complex process just to inquire about the details of phone bills, while pre-paid cellphone users are left without proper information at all.
There are also rampant reports on cases related to SMS advertising or promotions in which consumers are offered a variety of services without complete information. This strategy usually attracts consumers, which in return causes them to pay more than what they are willing to. Misinformation is also a common case as there are “free services, which in the end are not free at all as these come with hidden charges that consumers are not properly informed of. In these add-on services, consumers are registered without hassles if not automatically but it is always difficult for consumers to cancel subscription as in most cases there is no “opt-out” option available.
Additionally, consumers' personal information are also vulnerable in the telecommunications sector. A number of fraud cases had been reported. Aside from spam SMS, calls coming from fraud representatives from companies to trick mobile subscribers to shell out money or provide personal information to fraud callers.
These cases are yet to be properly documented in order to systematically address these telecommunications abuses being experienced by the mobile consumers in Indonesia.
The Yogyakarta Consumer Foundation (LKY), a member of Consumers International, aims to support the Indonesian mobile consumers to increase consumer awareness of their rights and to empower them in protecting these rights. Mobile consumers and other actors will be trained to combat scams. Along with these activities, a policy research on consumer rights in the digital era will be conducted.
LKY also works with media to gain awareness at the public eyes. As an end, it expects to put the issue at the front of policy makers to seek positive changes.