MAN TAKES ON GIANT TELCO SAFARICOM OVER M-PESA OUTAGES.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

The telecommunication giant company Safaricom is facing a legal battle from an M-pesa customer for various disruptions, which he said has led to substantial losses its subscribers.

Martin Muiruri Ndung’u suid Safaricom PLC on his own behalf and on behalf of all registered M-pesa customers. He has accused the giant company of negligence over the continued outages.

He wants the court to enter judgment against Safaricom PLC jointly with Central Bank and Communication Authority of Kenya for the outage credits for the period of time when the M-pesa platform was not operational and general damages for the disruptions..

He wants all M-pesa customers compensated by Safaricom for failing in their duty to protect customers, users, subscribers against the lapses.

Muiruri is seeking the court to order CA and CBK to impose requisite fines against Safaricom PLC as are imposed in other jurisdiction and damages for neglect.

 He also wants the regulator to mediate a complaint dated December 14, 2018 and for various disruptions that have led to substantial losses to the M-pesa customers , users and subscribers.

“The plaintiff (Martin Muiruri) claim against Safaricom PLC as well as on own behalf and on behalf of all class of persons being all the registered M-pesa customers, users, subscribers is outages credits as envisaged by the Kenya Information and communications (customers protection) regulations, 2010 and damages against all three defedants for breaching the M-pesa customers, users and subscribers rights in breach of the constitution of Kenya ,2010 and consumer protection Act,2012”, said Muiruri.

According to documents filed before Milimani Commercial Court obtained by NairobiTimez, he claims all registered M-pesa customers, users and subscribers have a common interest and the class action herein has the ingredients of commonly , adequacy , numerousity and topicality.

He accuses Safaricom Company for failing to make sure that cost cutting measures by the Safaricom does not cut down on the reliability of the M-pesa services and the safety of the customers, users and subscribers hard earned money.

Muruiri told the court that the consequences of the outage to M-pesa customers caused inconvenience, embarrassment of customers remaining in darkness for being unable to purchase utility tokens, detention of customers in bars , restaurants , petrol stations , hospitals , shops and all other M-pesa outlets for being unable to settle their bills.

He accused CA and CBK of failing to ably supervise and surveillance the conduct of Safaricom so as to protect M-pesa customers from regular system outages and promote their best public interest.

“Failing to monitor the quality of service offered by the Safaricom company leading to M-pesa platform outages that ground customers, users and subscribers needlessly and failing to maintain a network performance monitoring systems”, claims Muiruri.

Muruiri also accuses CA for failing to keep and update of records from Safaricom by monitoring the real time traffic in the Safaricom’s network and being unable to identify outages without relying on reports from aggrieved customers and the Safaricom.

He accuses CA of failing to oversee that Safaricom takes measures of network performance and quality data services and being lenient with Safaricom despite the company failing the regulator’s threshold of service provision.

Muiruri said CA has failed to be proactive to ensure digital markets work for the customers , users, subscribers and thereby contributing to erosion of consumers , users and subscribers trust.

” CA has failed to promote consumers , users , subscribers awareness regards the potential risks when dealing with M-pesa services and how consumers , users, subscribers can protect themselves and protected by the CA and CBK using the outage credit facilities and other available protection methods ad a deterrent to Safaricom impunity “, added Muiruri.

He said the company is focusing on enforcement and not compliance to the detriment of customers ,users and subscribers of the Safaricom’s M-pesa service and failing to evaluate and monitor the performances and trends of the Safaricom PLC through market analysis and reporting of data collected from the Safaricom pursuant to the company’s license conditions with the intentions of denying information to the general public.

Muiruri told the court despite demand and notice of the intention to sue being given, Safaricom has formally denied that Muiruri has locus to sue on behalf of the M-pesa customers and expressly disputed the contents of the demand whilst the CA and CBK have neglected or failed to mediate the dispute as enunciated in the memorandum of complaint dated December 14,2018 against Safaricom within the legal timelines.

He argued there is no other suit pending and that there has been no previous proceedings in any court between him and Safaricom in respect of the subject matter.

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