wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

, , , ,

Consumer consent mandatory for all services preloaded on SIM card, says TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed (pdf) all telecom service providers to ensure that all pay-per-use value added services (VAS) pre-loaded on SIM cards are activated only after obtaining explicit consumer consent. Telcos have till January 13, 2015 to comply with this directive.

Consumer complaints regarding activation of VAS without consent received by TRAI revealed that in most cases these VAS products were related to the ones pre-loaded on SIM cards, which the consumer might have accidentally or unknowingly clicked and got charged for. The consumer wasn’t provided the opportunity to agree or decline to proceed.

Mobile-VAS-Fraud-Complaint

Telecom service providers have apparently told TRAI that their understanding was that TRAI’s earlier directives were for subscription-based VAS products only, and since most of the VAS products pre-loaded on SIMs are charged on a pay-per-use basis the two-step consumer consent process wasn’t followed.

TRAI mandated procedure for obtaining consumer consent

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

– Consumer explores pre-loaded VAS products on SIM and selects one

– Telecom service provider has to inform consumer through SMS about the VAS requested, its validity, charges and ask the consumer to confirm the request through SMS within 60 minutes.

– In case the consumer doesn’t reply or if it’s after 60 minutes the request must be cancelled.

– In case the consumer confirms request the VAS product is activated and the consumer consent log needs to be stored in the system of the telecom operator in un-editable format.

– Consumer is informed immediately through SMS about the activation, the amount deducted and the remaining balance.

Telecom operators not respecting TRAI directives?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

This isn’t the first time the issue of obtaining consumer consent for mobile VAS has come up. Last year, TRAI had mandated that for activation of mobile value added services, across types of scenarios – Outbound Dialer (OBD), Voice Portal (IVRS), WAP, Mobile Internet, USSD, SMS and Telecalling, or any other method – telecom operators needed to provide a system which takes a second consent from the customer before it is enabled. In case of incorrect activation, the telcos needed to refund the amount within 24 hours of the customer request. Additionally, TRAI had also directed that a common toll-free deactivation number (155223) be set up and that all deactivation requests should be processed in 4 hours.

TRAI had issued a similar directive back in 2011 as well. TRAI had directed that service providers shall obtain confirmation from the consumer through consumer originated SMS or e-mail or FAX or in writing within 24 hours of activation of the Vas product and charge the consumer only if the confirmation is received from him and shall discontinue service if no confirmation is received from the consumer. TRAI had also mentioned that it had been receiving complaints from consumers about telecom providers renewing VAS products (in case of prepaid subscribers) even when the available balance in the customer’s account is insufficient, resulting in negative balance.

Our Take

I think it’s high time that TRAI took some action against telecom operators that have consistently ignored such directives. Also, why hasn’t TRAI clearly mentioned what consequences telecom operators are likely to face in case they don’t comply within the 60 days period?

Nikhil adds: I don’t quite understand why this directive was needed: consumer consent should have become mandatory for all VAS, whether pre-loaded on SIM or not, whether subscription or pay per use. User consent was meant to be recorded. Any assertion that the previous guidelines were only for subscription services is a disingenuous one.

Also Read:

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Mobile VAS Fraud is back

MediaNama’s Recommendations To TRAI On Regulation Of MVAS

Written By

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

When news that Walmart would soon accept cryptocurrency turned out to be fake, it also became a teachable moment.

News

The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

News

In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...

News

By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...

News

By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Yash Desai The Government of India circulated proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which...

You May Also Like

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ