Court declines to stop Bonga points expiry

Pedestrians walk past a Safaricom shop in Nairobi. PHOTO | AFP

The High Court has declined to stop Safaricom from introducing the expiry of loyalty points, popularly known as Bonga points, which came into effect in January as sought by a Nakuru-based doctor.

The listed telco issued a notice to its subscribers that all unredeemed Bonga points would expire after three years, meaning that those accumulated before December 31, 2019,  expired on January 1, this year.

Safaricom termed the move as a business decision to encourage redemption and unlock the underlying revenue that totalled Sh4.5 billion as of March last year.

But Nakuru-based surgeon Dr Magare Gikenyi, in his petition, claimed that the Sh4.5 million would be lost due to Safaricom’s drastic action.

Justice Mugure Thande, however, noted that the petition was filed at the last minute and declined to stop the telco from blocking the redemption of the Bonga points.

“The petition and application which have been filed at the very last minute be served upon all parties by 16.1.23,” the judge said and directed the matter to be mentioned for directions on March 6.

Dr Gikenyi said the announcement by Safaricom caught the public unawares and that it just “sprung up from the blues”.

“Considering the verse geographical background of Kenya, high illiteracy levels in some parts of the country, lack of internet in some areas, and many other factors, many Kenyans will suffer due to poor administrative action of the respondents,” he said in the petition.

The medic argued that it was in the interest of justice that the intended expiry dates of Bonga points be suspended and later declared illegal as it put profits before the welfare of Kenyans, who he claimed helped the telecommunications giant to grow.

Further, Dr Gikenyi said the decision by Safaricom is an outright abuse of business dominance to the detriment of many poor subscribers.

“It is unfair for the respondents to fail their subscribers by forcing them to redeem their loyalty points, or else they lose them through its arbitrary and irrational actions,” he said, adding that the behaviour of punishing its subscribers goes against the rules of business loyalty and legitimate expectation of customers.

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