Telecom franchises

Published February 12, 2024

THE cellular companies are exploiting consumers through deceptive practices. These multinational corporations collec- tively amass billions of rupees annually, but exploit the franchise holders who fall prey to their tactics when starting their small-scale businesses.

These companies employ various strategies, such as enticing promotions that include free SIM cards and charging, to lure unsuspecting individuals. Unfor- tunately, the burden of these costs is shifted onto the shoulders of struggling franchise holders, who are coerced into footing the bill. Moreover, these companies set ambiguous targets for franchises, communicated verbally by sales officers rather than in writing.

The lack of clarity becomes evident when a franchise achieves a set percentage, only to have the sales representative claim a higher figure. This dishonesty jeopar- dises the livelihood of hardworking franchise owners. While these companies have negatively impacted countless careers, the government is oblivious to the issue.

The representatives resort to intimidation tactics, and when the franchise holders have nothing left to lose, their busine-sses are abruptly terminated, pushing them to find alternative sources of income. There is a pervasive perception that certain mobile companies engage in these unethical practices due to their close ties with government authorities. This creates an environment of disho- nesty and blackmail.

The franchise business, in this context, emerges as one of the worst ventures in the country. The giant companies prioritise profit-making at the expense of the middle class, surpassing even the earnings of land and drug mafias. It is imperative for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Pakistan Telecommuni-cation Authority (PTA) to take stringent action against these companies and their practices.

The government should closely monitor the process of new SIM card issuance to prevent the forgery of subscribers’ thumb impressions. This is of critical value.

Muhammad Zaman Qalandrani
Karachi

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2024

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