Thursday, May 31, 2012

TRAI failure in protecting consumer interest

This news has appeared in theNavbharat Times dtd. 31st May 2012. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is the regulatory body in the Telecom Sector. One of the objective as per TRAI Act is to protect the interest of consumers. In my view the TRAI has failed to protect the interest of consumers as is quite evident from the above news report. It is not only that there is a failure in implementation of its regulations on MNP i.e Mobile Number Portability but also several other regulations. Few of them could be "Activation of VAS (Value Added Services", Unsolicited Commercial call (UCC) and all the three regulations were meant to protect consumers from unethical business practices. TRAI itself have confirmed under RTI that 5 regulations in UCC i.e Unsolicited Commercial Communications have not been implementable as no grievance redressal mechanism has been thought of. Is it not a joke with the 100 crore consumers??? Agreed, certain steps are forgotton at the time of making regulations but once detected should be improved upon if it is really interested in implementation. I have been writing to them for the past six months but no action has been thought even despite my reminders ..........

VAS i.e Value Added Services, a huge business industry being run under the category of unethical business  practices. A tune is played on your mobile and when disconnect the phone, the tune gets activated and money is deducted. The consumers who are able to take up such complaints are refunded money and 90% of the customers who belongs to disadvantageous category are forced to carry on with such services and keep on paying without their requirement. The question is when the activation of any VAS has to undergo some 4-5 steps as per regulation, how such services gets activate just on disconnecting the call. Another question would be why such problems in prepaid connections why not in post paid?? Another joke is all such services are auto renewed on expiry of its period and money is deducted after each interval from the prepaid balance. Why TRAI is unable to take any corrective action when it has been pointed out to them? Mistakes are allowed in every business but the carrying on with the mistakes once pointed out is un-tolerable.The simple answer is more than 90% customers are in prepaid category and majority of the customers belongs to disadvantageous category who use mobile for incoming calls and are not able to approach companies for deactivating and refunding. First question is why only the amount deducted is refunded in case of a complaint? Is it the customer fool that he keeps on writing complaints for refunds and waste his/ her time? Why the companies are not compelled to refund 10 times of such deductions??? If every user is duped of by Re.1/- per day by one way or the other, it has got a potential of unethical generation of a total of Rs. 100 crore per day.

Why Telecom Sector is missing from Telecom Ombudsman when all important sector of industries like Banking, Insurance and Electricity can have and despite a fact that close to 100 crore subscribers are the telecom users???
Is it a simple failure or there is much beyond it ..... may be a  .......... ???? who knows..??

Friday, May 11, 2012

Telecom Companies violating TRAI regulation on telemarketing calls

TRAI has brought out regulations w.e.f. 27th September 2011 to curb the menace of telemarketing calls. However, telecom companies seems not to be cooperating TRAI in implementation of these regulations. The following regulations are pertinent to the post:

1. All the telemarketers are required to be registered with TRAI for the purpose of telemarketing business.
2. All the telemarketing calls are to be carried out during 9.00 AM to 9.00 PM
3. All the telemarketing calls should originate from a number series of 140xx xx xxx so that the receiver of the call can identify the incoming call as telemarketing before opting to receive or not.
4. All the telemarketing SMS should be sent with a 9 alphanumeric character code or identifier and no message of telemarketing nature can be sent through an mobile number.
5. There can not be telemarketing call to a number which is registered with NCPR. It means the customer who have got their mobile number registered with NCPR can not receive any call of telemarketing nature at any cost.

In view of above, the regulations at S.No. 1 to 4 is definitely is for the benefit of the customers who have not got their number registered with NCPR but at the same time would have the option of attending to the call or not.

The companies says that they can not take any action against the telemarketer if the customer receiving the call is not registered with NCPR. If that is the case then why regulations at S.No.. 1 to 4?. This problem has come up while taking up complaint with MTNL and TATA.

2. If the regulations are announced to befool the customers or

3. If there is anything beyond it?  Needless to mention that the telemarketing industry is of very high business value and one can not rule out the possibility of corruption.