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In order to improve the quality of services and compensate the subscriber in case of poor services, the telecom regulator has started a discussion with mobile operators
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is looking into introducing a system of compensation to the subscribers for the lack of quality telecom service and the regulator is discussing various aspects of it with service providers.
Speaking at a consumer awareness programme on telecom, JS Sharma, chairman TRAI said that, “We are currently looking at the feasibility of asking the telecom service providers to compensate you (subscribers) in the event where they won’t measure up to the quality of services. But it is something that we need to visit carefully, see how feasible it is and understand the pitfalls.”
However since this process is in initial stages of discussion the TRAI chairman refused to provide any timeline for it. “I wouldn’t commit anything at this stage but we looking at the system of compensation to consumers,” he said.
The regulatory authority also said that it would soon implement guidelines tightening the Value Added Services (VAS) offered by the telecom players. Many subscribers complain that VAS gets subscribed on its own.
Responding to the automatic subscription of VAS services, Mr Sharma said, “We had issued instructions on VAS sometime back. We feel that there is a need to improve it. Now we are of the stand that the VAS will not be added without the consent of the subscribers specifically through an SMS. Industry has some reservations about it. Next week we will have a discussion with them. But we won’t deviate from our stand that such services cannot be added without the consent of the subscribers.”
Recently TRAI had announced a host of pro-consumer measures. It announced Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2012 where it has asked operators to inform subscribers, every time, about the amount that is deducted from their account. It has given a deadline of 45 days to the operators to build a system where a message would be sent to subscribers including information on duration of call, deducted amount, balance, and also the tariff plan.
According to the regulation, prepaid consumers will get an itemised usage of their account on payment of cost not exceeding Rs50 and operators have been asked to provide it within 30 days of request.
Further, it has asked the operators to provide customers with a start-up kit at the time of enrolment, containing a SIM card, a mobile number and an abridged version of the Citizen’s Charter, stating the rights of a consumer.
TRAI have also standardised pre-paid vouchers in three categories, with each voucher having different colour. Accordingly plan voucher will have red coloured band, top-up voucher a green and special tariff voucher will have a yellow band.
To improve the system of complaint mechanism, TRAI announced the Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations. It has asked the service providers to set up complaint centres and a web-based complaint monitoring system within 45 days in order to help the consumers to check the status of the complaints filed. Under the new system, there won’t be the current three three-tier complaint redressal mechanism and a nodal officer instead there would be a call centre and appellate authority.