Mobile Money Agents Warned for Double Dipping

02/07/2021 15:02


Agents facilitating cash withdrawal for the Government COVID- CASH assistance are being warned to refrain from double-dipping at the expense of Fijians by demanding an additional fee. This is being stressed by the Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) after receiving complaints that certain mobile money agents are charging up to $5.00 additional over-the-counter withdrawal fee.
The CCoF Chief Executive Officer Ms Seema Shandil says that this cash assistance by the Government is meant to provide some level of relief to those who are severely affected by the socio-economic impacts of the current pandemic. By selfishly overcharging people, these Agents are denying the people full benefits of the intended assistance by Government.
“The government deposits $52.00 to the beneficiary accounts of eligible Fijians which is inclusive of the $2.00 withdrawal fee. This is being done to ensure those receiving this cash assistance are not burdened with the withdrawal fee. Hence, by placing any other additional charges on the beneficiaries, unscrupulous agents are simply robbing the Fijian consumers who are already suffering,” said Ms Shandil.
Vodafone Fiji Head of Ecommerce Mr Shailendra Prasad has clarified that all M-PAiSA fees and charges applicable on M-PAiSA transactions are automatically deducted from the customer’s account. The customer is not required to pay any fee in cash over the counter to any agent and the agent must not demand any additional fee from the customer either for facilitating an M-PAiSA transaction,” said Mr. Prasad
Digicel CEO Mr Farid Mohammed has advised that Digicel has waived withdrawal fees for its MyCash customers who are receiving the Government Cash Assistance. MyCash customers receive $50 in their account and the full amount is available for use either via QR Pay, Bill Payments, or Cash Withdrawal. Digicel has not received any complaints of its agents charging extra fees but Mr. Mohammed added that they will monitor the agents very closely to ensure there is no double-dipping.
Fijians who are being charged extra for withdrawing the $50.00 government cash assistance are being encouraged to immediately contact CCoF using the toll-free number 155 or lodge a complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile. Fijians can also lodge a complaint against the Agents over-charging them by calling Vodafone toll-free on its customer care helpline 124 and 444 for Inkk Mobile customers and 123 for Digicel users.