MANILA — The expiration period of all prepaid load credits will soon be a thing of the past once a bill prohibiting such imposition is enacted into law.
According to a statement on Thursday, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 365, otherwise known as “Prepaid Load Forever Act of 2019”, which seeks to prohibit all public telecommunications entities and information and communications technology providers from imposing an expiration period on the validity of prepaid load credits–whether purchased via prepaid card or electronic load–and their forfeiture.
“Sustaining a scheme that imposes the expiration of prepaid credits that were purchased by the consumers’ hard-earned money forces them to consume their prepaid load, albeit unnecessarily, to get the full value of the credits or risk forfeiture and be left with zero load–a waste of the prepaid subscriber’s money; an income for the PTE and the ICT provider,” Gatchalian said in his explanatory note.
“Every peso spent by the consumer to purchase prepaid load credits must be usable until fully consumed,” he added.
He said the proposed law is seen to potentially impact 142,432,163 prepaid subscribers or 96.6 percent of the total number of mobile subscribers in the country as of the first quarter of 2019.
The bill also prohibits the refusal to give a refund to any prepaid subscriber whose load credits were forfeited without any valid cause.
The bill prescribes a penalty of a fine of not less than PHP100,000 but not exceeding PHP1 million, or imprisonment of not less than two years but not more than six years.
Gatchalian said his bill covers all prepaid load credits, not just call and text credits, but also those that are loaded to devices to be used for other telecommunications services, including, but not to limited to tablets, Wi-Fi dongles, or mobile hotspots.
The bill also includes transferred or shared prepaid load credits. Filane Mikee Cervantes / PNA – northboundasia.com