New Delhi: Consumers with complaints against their telecom service providers can soon call a four-digit number to make themselves heard. The department of telecommunications (DoT) has allocated the number 1037 exclusively for customers to call in with their complaints and seek action against telecom companies.

A 21 October letter from the DoT to all telecom service providers said it is mandatory for all communications access companies to provide the number to their customers.

The letter, a copy of which was reviewed by Mint, said the number would not be metered, which means consumers will be able to call the number at no cost. It will be an unrestricted number, allowing consumers to call from anywhere, nationally or internationally.

According to a senior DoT official, the number is expected to be active in the next few weeks.

The move comes almost two months after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) issued amendments to the existing regulations governing telecom consumer complaint redressal, strengthening the existing system.

The rules mandate that a telecom company has to ensure that all consumers know its central consumer helpline number as well as of the appellate authority.

If a consumer is not satisfied with the complaint redressal on the helpline, or is not informed of its resolution within the time specified, he or she can file an appeal with the appellate authority of the telco. If the complaint still remains unresolved, the consumer can approach DoT using the new number 1037.

Last year, the telcom regulator launched a new Telecom Consumers Complaint Monitoring System (TCCMS) portal at www.tccms.gov.in, which allows consumers to locate the telco’s “consumer care number" as well as the “general information number" and contact details of the complaint centre and appellate authority of their service provider.

“There is certainly a requirement for this centralized number. An average consumer has to be able to reach a neutral authority that is outside of the telecom operators, and maybe higher than the operators. This not only gives more accountability, but also the average consumer is more confident and is more assured that the problem will be resolved," said Saleem Ahmed, vice-presdent of the Telecom Users Group India, a consumer action group.

“There is definitely some lacking in the current system—sometimes the operator’s call centre employee is not fully trained... These can hopefully be resolved with this new system," he said.

.

Close