A man who sued Safaricom will be required to bear the cost of the suit after the case was dismissed by the court. Chrisogonas Odero, who lives in the United States, had sued Safaricom after he became a victim of Sim-swap fraud.
Odero moved to court seeking to compel Safaricom Limited to refund Sh200 which he used to purchase a replacement card and Sh4,110 which he used to courier the card to the US.
The case was dismissed after it emerged that Odero had possibly failed to read the terms and conditions while purchasing the SIM card. According to Justice Hedwig Ongudi, the terms require the complainant to seek arbitration first and if that fails to address their issues, they should proceed to the Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal (CAMAT).
“He was guided accordingly but he decided to come to court instead of following the setup dispute resolution processes by the respondent, under their contractual agreement,” Justice Ong’udi said
The court heard that Odero purchased the SIM card in 2009 and in 2019, he received a call from someone who identified themselves as a Safaricom customer care agent. He was told to keep his phone on so he could receive updates on his M-Pesa menu. A few minutes later, Odero discovered that he could not make calls, purchase airtime or perform M-Pesa transactions.
Odero contacted Safaricom through Twitter where he found out that the fraudsters had swapped his SIM card. He was then advised to deactivate it and get a replacement.
The new line was delivered to him by DHL courier. Odero informed the court that Safaricom had agreed to reimburse him for his expenses. He stated that despite activating the second line, he was still unable to access M-Pesa. This, he discovered, was because his pin had been changed. Messages on the line also showed that an agent going by the name Servotech Agencies Scowas Enpses (Agent No.335362) had made a deposit of Sh100.
Odero narrated that he reported the issue to Safaricom but that the telco did not offer a comprehensive report regarding the issue, prompting him to report the issue to the Gigiri Police station.
He accused Safaricom of negligence and failure to secure his personal information. He added that he was also unable to meet the financial needs of his family due to the SIM swap.
Through Safaricom Fraud Manager Andronicus Kihalangwa, the firm denied contacting Odero. The complainant says the telco had promised to reimburse Sh4310 used to buy the SIM card as well as the courier charges.
Mr Kihalangwa denied that Safaricom had agreed to pay the customer’s courier fees. He said after activating the second line, Odero never sent another complaint.
He also stated that the petitioner was advised to visit its offices if his question was not adequately addressed but did not do so.
In a landmark case against the giant telco, Odero also filed a lawsuit against Kenya’s Communications Authority (CA).