The High Court has declined to stop Safaricom from introducing the expiry of loyalty points, also known as Bonga points, which came into effect in January as petitioned by a Nakuru-based doctor.
Last month, Safaricom notified its subscribers that all unredeemed Bonga points would expire after three years, meaning that those accumulated before December 31, 2019, expired on January 1, this year.
Safaricom termed the move as a business decision to encourage redemption and unlock the underlying revenue that totalled $36.42 million as of March last year. However, Nakuru-based surgeon Dr Magare Gikenyi challenged the decision in a petition to the High Court claiming that $36.42 million would be lost due to Safaricom’s drastic action.
Justice Mugure Thande, however, declined to stop Safaricom from blocking the redemption of the Bonga points older than three years noting that the petition was filed at the last minute.
“The petition and application which have been filed at the very last minute be served upon all parties by 16.1.23,” the judge said and directed the matter to be mentioned for directions on March 6.
Dr Gikenyi argued the notice by Safaricom caught the public unaware, saying “Considering the verse geographical background of Kenya, high illiteracy levels in some parts of the country, lack of internet in some areas, and many other factors, many Kenyans will suffer due to poor administrative action of the respondents.”.
He argued that it would be just to suspend the expiration dates of Bonga points and declare them illegal because they prioritize profits over the well-being of Kenyans, who have contributed to the growth of the telecommunications company.
The medic described Safaricom’s decision as a clear abuse of its dominant position in the market that harms many poor subscribers.
“It is unfair for the respondents to fail their subscribers by forcing them to redeem their loyalty points, or else they lose them through its arbitrary and irrational actions,” he said.