CFM Lends A Helping Hand To Blacklisted Telecommunications Users

CYBERJAYA (Bernama) — Not many people know what to do when their names are blacklisted by CTOS and CCRIS and they are unable to get credit.

What exactly are CTOS and CCRIS and what is the difference between them?

CTOS, the acronym for Credit Tip Off Service Sdn Bhd, is a private company while CCRIS, the short form for Central Credit Reference Information System, comes under the purview of Bank Negara Malaysia.

Both CTOS and CCRIS are tasked with providing credit reports for banking customers and loan applicants.

WHAT IS CTOS?

According to Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) chairman Mohamad Yusrizal Datuk Yusuf, CTOS is a private company that prepares credit reports that are widely used by financial institutions to determine the creditworthiness of their clients.

“CTOS is also a source of reference for creditors, Majlis Amanah Rakyat, Tekun Nasional and insurance companies. For example, if someone wants to be an insurance agent, the company will refer to CTOS and if the individual concerned is found to have been blacklisted, he will not be allowed to become an insurance agent,” he told Bernama in an interview, here recently.

It is usual for financial institutions to get a credit report from not only CTOS but CCRIS as well to get a full picture of a borrower\’s credit standing.

To prepare its credit reports, CTOS collects credit-related information from various public sources such as the National Registration Department, Malaysian Insolvency Department, Companies Commission Malaysia, publications of legal proceedings and notices in newspapers and government gazettes.

CTOS, however, does not offer opinions or comments and neither does it blacklist any individual but its credit reports will act as a source of reference before banks and credit card issuers approve applications for loans and credit cards.

Communications and multimedia service providers also make use of CTOS\’ service to blacklist customers who default on their bill payments.

DDMF MECHANISM TO COLLECT DEBTS

Many service providers in Malaysia list the names of their customers who default on their payments in the Defaulters Database Management Facility (DDMF). If the amount owed by the defaulter is significant, his or her name will be listed in CTOS.

DDMF is among the debt collection mechanisms used by credit reporting agencies and it can only be accessed by the service providers involved.

Currently, DDMF is being utilised by telecommunications service providers to share the names of their customers who fail to settle their bills within the prescribed time limit.

Service users whose names end up in the CTOS list will face difficulty when applying for financial services from banks.

Various factors can cause the names of telecommunications service users to land in the CTOS list. They include dissatisfaction over bill disputes; misleading information by sales representatives; service inaccessibility; user behaviour; unresolved complaints; failure to terminate service; false registration; and poor billing system.

For example, if a user is not able to access the broadband service he has subscribed to and decides not to pay the bill and, thus, ignores the notice for payment, his name can turn up in the CTOS list.

CTOS IMPLICATIONS

Individuals who are listed in CTOS as a result of issues over telecommunications services will be imposed a penalty charge by their service provider.

Yusrizal said while service providers have different mechanisms, users whose names were listed in CTOS for defaulting on their bill payments can be blacklisted and prevented from subscribing to the services provided by another telecommunications service provider.

“For instance, if a user doesn’t pay up Telco A’s bill and wishes to switch to Telco B, he will not be able to do so until he has settled his outstanding payment.

“It will also be difficult for the user to apply for a loan because his (credit) record will be used as a reference by the financial institution,” he said.

Malaysia has about 35 million telecommunications users and 40 telecommunications companies.

TIPS BY CFM

One of the reasons consumers find their names landing in the CTOS list is due to their lack of understanding of their telecommunications service provider’s billing mechanism.

Yusrizal said users have to familiarise themselves with their respective account’s billing cycle and the billing period and final date for receipt of payment.

“If the billing cycle begins on the 28th of each month, the billing period will start on Jan 28, for instance, and end on Feb 28. So, identify your billing cycle and the final date for payment,” he explained.

Users are also advised to check their payment status and update their bills when making payment.

Users should also read and understand the terms and conditions of the agreement before subscribing to any service.

“Very often, the user doesn’t take the terms and conditions seriously when subscribing to a service. When the user is unhappy with the Internet service and network coverage, he cannot switch to another service provider because he may have signed a two-year contract with the existing provider,” said Yusrizal.

If the user stops using the service he had subscribed to, he still has to pay the service provider because the billing process takes place every month.

Should a user have a problem with a telecommunications service he has subscribed to, it is best for him to get his service provider to resolve the issue.

If his problem remains unresolved, he should seek the help of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, said Yusrizal.

In the event a user decides to terminate the service, he should ascertain the status of his final bill, including information on any charges to be incurred.

If the user fails to settle the final balance payment, even if it is as low as RM10, his name will be listed in CTOS should the amount remain unsettled for a long period.

Users are advised to get a letter from their service provider acknowledging the full settlement of their bill after having terminated their services.

They should keep with them a copy of the letter or any proof of bill settlement just in case of disputes later on.

Users are also advised to keep all records and payment receipts for reference purposes if disputes crop up later.

COMPLAINTS SUCCESSFULLY RESOLVED

CFM serves as a platform that handles unresolved complaints with regard to telecommunications problems faced by users all over Malaysia.

According to Yusrizal, CFM received 4,746 complaints in 2017 and 87 per cent of them were resolved within 15 days.

“A total of 560 complaints from January to July 2017 involved users whose names were listed in CTOS,” he said.

Between January and April this year, CFM received 1,244 complaints, 92 per cent of which were resolved within 15 days.

Starting from 2015, CFM has been conducting information sharing sessions in Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and other states to create more awareness about CFM among telecommunications users and also to alert them to the danger of providing their personal details randomly to others.

“We have received complaints from users regarding telcos (telecommunications company) that were said to have misused their personal information.

“But then, telcos alone cannot be blamed for this because we also give our personal data to other parties like, for instance, those who provide discount cards at supermarkets,” he said.

Users who have problems with their telecommunications and multimedia services can report the matter to CFM via e-mail at aduan@cfm.org.my. They can also download the My Mobile Rights mobile application at Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

DOUBLE THE SPEED, HALF THE PRICE

Meanwhile, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo has said that he would work towards achieving broadband connections that were double the speed and half the price for Malaysians.

When asked to comment on this, Yusrizal said it was a good proposal as it would fulfil the needs of Internet users.

“The network coverage in advanced countries is extensive and fast, hence Malaysia should also be on a par with them. Our users will not misuse this facility because the Internet has become a necessity now,” he added.

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