Customer sues MTN over alleged deceitful text message

Court Law MallatA subscriber of MTN has dragged the telecommunications giant before the Accra High Court to seek damages for a deceitful text message it sent to his phone.

The plaintiff, Mr Francis Asiedu Agyemfra, is seeking Ghc300,000 in damages for a deceitful text message regarding MTN’s ‘Dream Big Xtreme Promotion’.

The text message had said that he was to be declared winner when the promotion had already ended.

Text messages from MTN

In his statement of claim, Mr Agyemfra averred that the deceitful text sent by MTN, which led to his participation in the promotion, had caused him “mental and psychological distress, loss of time, money and effort, and injury to his feelings and dignity”.

But MTN, in its statement of defence, said the text that was sent to Mr Agyemfra “was as a result of a computer glitch which was remedied immediately” it came to its attention.

Mr Agyemfra is represented by Mr Ernest K. Danso, while MTN is represented by Mr Samuel M. Codjoe.

In his statement, Mr Agyemfra said in December 2012, MTN mounted a competitive promotion it named “MTN Dream Big Extreme Promotion”, in which its subscribers, at their expense, were invited to text answers to certain questions to stand the chance of winning a grand prize of Ghc150,000.

MTN, in a bid to entice him to enter the promotion, sent him a message that said MTN had shortlisted his number to be able to win Ghc150,000 and that he had to confirm it was his number by sending “ok” to the short code “2020” to be in the shortlist to win.

Enticement to participate

The statement said the plaintiff obliged and thereby participated in the competition until April 8, 2013, when he received another message from MTN concerning the promotion, saying: “Hey, we already have your number in case we need to declare you as the winner of the grand Prize of Ghc150,000. So text MONEY to 2020”.

After sending that text, the statement said, the plaintiff received a response from MTN that said, “Thank you for participating in MTN Dream Big Xtreme. Please note that the promotion ended on April 7, 2013! For winners’ list, kindly visit: mtn.com.gh.”

“Despite the fact that the defendant had informed the plaintiff that the promotion had ended on April 7, 2013, the defendant, on April 8, 2013 continued to send messages regarding the promotion to the plaintiff,” it said.

New Ghana millionaire?

The next message that came, according to the statement, was that he was about to become the new “Ghana Millionaire”, to: “What are you feeling right now that you are about to become the new Ghana Millionaire? 1=Nervous or 2=Happy? Text to 2020 and WIN!!!” to which he texted 2.

It said other enticing text messages were sent to him, which he responded in his honest expectation and belief that he was going to be declared the winner of the grand prize of Ghc150,000 as he had been made to believe by MTN.

The statement said the plaintiff, therefore, informed his family members and friends of his upcoming grand prize.

It said later a newspaper publication had informed the plaintiff that another person had been declared the winner of the competition, adding that MTN had led him by a ruse to believe that he was about to win the ultimate prize.

The statement contended that he subsequently wrote a letter to MTN to protest its deceitful conduct, to which it responded, saying it had refunded the Ghc3.75 being the cost incurred by him and promised to credit him with GH¢100 airtime for any inconvenience caused.

“The plaintiff considers the crediting of Ghc100 by the defendant to him as woefully inadequate for the damage he suffered as a result of the defendant’s conduct,” it maintained.

MTN is credible

In its statement of defence, MTN contended that it was a very reputable company with over 12,289,991 subscribers and accounting for over 50 per cent market share of the telecommunication industry and was in no way exploiting customers.

Mr Agyemfra, it said, participated in the promotion voluntarily and was not coerced.

It said Mr Agyemfra was aware and deemed to be aware that with the promotion having ended on April 7, 2013, any text message that was sent to him in respect of the promotion could only have been sent to him by mistake.

The court is yet to fix a date for hearing.

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