New Delhi: Amid growing consumers’ dissatisfaction, telecom minister Kapil Sibal will hold the first round table with consumer user groups to look into their grievances in issues like pesky calls, hidden costs in tariffs and ineffective redressal system, among others.
“I shall be holding a round table with consumers on 5 July ... This is the first ever round table to interact with consumers. I want to know from them what their problems are,” Sibal told PTI.
Asked why telecom regulator Trai was unable to address the menace of pesky calls and SMSs, the minister said, “I do not know, that’s something we need to discuss. Though Trai is holding discussions separately with consumers, but I think as a minister I want to directly interact with the consumers to know what they want and I intend to resolve those concerns.”
A day ahead of the meeting, Trai has issued two draft regulations on protecting consumer interest and redressal of complaints, a move aimed at empowering over 860 million telecom consumers in the country.
The drafts focus on issues like effective grievance redressal system, review of consumer centric quality of service parameters, metering and billing audit and providing information to prepaid consumers, among others.
The two draft regulations - ‘Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2011´ and ‘Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, 2011´ - have been placed on Trai’s website for comments from stakeholders by 25 July, 2011.
As part of the drafts, telecom operators would be able to offer only three categories of vouchers - Plan Voucher, Top Up Voucher and Special Tariff Voucher, which would have colour bands for easy identification.
While the plan vouchers (red) would be used for selecting tariff plan, top up voucher (green) would be for adding talk time and special tariff voucher (yellow) would provide special tariff options.
Also, telecom operators would have to ensure that the information printed on the paper vouchers meant for the pre-paid subscribers is legible and printed in font size of not less than eight points.
At the end of each call, service providers have been mandated to provide information like call duration, call charges and balance in consumer account or SMS.
Sibal expressed concern that there was no appropriate forum for addressing consumers’ complaints. “These are the issues I want to discuss with them (consumers).”
Service providers have also been mandated to provide upon request, information relating to the itemised usage charges for prepaid consumers limited to preceding six months within 15 days.
Operators would also have to inform subscribers of the terms and conditions of premium rate services to consumers opting for such service.