Two petitioners have sued Safaricom over the charges it imposes on Okoa Jahazi airtime services, claiming that they are illegal.
Mr Ashford Koome and Eric Kithinji, claim that Safaricom is not licensed to carry out banking services, hence the interest it charges on the airtime advanced to the subscribers is illegal.
Safaricom has however disputed the claims arguing that the charges have been approved by the Communications Authority of Kenya, and that they are not interest but a service charge.
“It is my understanding therefore that Safaricom does not charge interest on the airtime it advances to its prepaid subscribers as alleged by the petitioner. Safaricom simply charges a service fee for subscribers who exercise the option of using the Okoa Jahazi service,” says Safaricom in its response.
The petitioners hold that Safaricom is neither a bank nor a licensed lending institution and that the charges should be declared illegal.
The petitioners’ further claim that there are no published terms and conditions available to the users thereby exposing consumers to indiscriminate tariff and other hidden conditions.
They further allege that the charges of 10 per cent on the advanced airtime is very high and says it constitutes predatory practice against the lower segment of the subscribers, where they claim to belong. But Safaricom says it has publicised the terms and conditions in print, electronic, its website and online media.