Keep consumers in loop on charges: Telecom regular

New Delhi : In a move to bring in more transparency and end consumer woes, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Friday asked operators to ensure that subscribers are informed every time an amount is deducted from their account for different services.

The operators have been given a deadline of 45 days.

“Notwithstanding the several steps taken in the past by TRAI with a view to enhance transparency in tariff offers, the authority continues to receive complaints and representations from consumers,” TRAI said while announcing the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2012.

“With a view to protecting the interest of telecom consumers and particularly the prepaid consumers, TRAI has today issued the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2012,” it added.

The operators will have to send messages to subscribers to inform them about the deduction from their account after every call made or after every data usage session.

“This information will include the duration of the call or usage, the charges deducted, balance available, quantum of data usage. The consumer can also get details of his tariff plan, available balance in his account and details of any value added service activated on his telephone.”

To ensure that a prepaid consumers get an itemized usage of their accounts, the service providers have been mandated to provide this within 30 days of a request being made and at a cost not exceeding Rs.50.

Customers will be provided a start-up kit at the time of enrolement which will contain a SIM card, a mobile number and an abridged version of the Citizen’s Charter on the rights of a consumer.

The pre-paid vouchers offered have also been standardised into three categories — plan voucher, top-up voucher and special tariff voucher and have been mandated to be under colour bands. The plan voucher will have a red coloured band, the top-up voucher a green coloured band and the special tariff voucher a yellow coloured band.

On Thursday, TRAI had announced the Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, asking the operators to set up complaint centres and a web-based complaint monitoring system within 45 days to help consumers check the status of complaints filed.

The new system will do away with the current three-tier complaint redressal mechanism and will not have a nodal officer but just the call center and appellate authority.

“These regulations will apply to all service providers, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited.”

Customers will also be given a unique docket number and will be informed of the action taken through SMS.

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