The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday issued instructions that telecom operators would have to take consent from subscribers in writing or through SMS before activating any paid value-added service (VAS).
The operators will have to inform customers about the terms and conditions of services.
Ring back tones, astrology, cricket alerts, news and exam results are some of the popular services offered by mobile telecom service providers.
While these cost about Rs 4-6 per use or about Rs 30 per month, companies earn up to 10 per cent of their revenues through these services.
“We have received a large number of complaints that telecom companies were charging customers for VAS without taking their consent and also without telling them the terms and conditions,” TRAI acting chairman A.K. Sawhney told HT.
Operators usually send SMSes such as “Press Star to Copy Hello Tunes”. Subscribers follow the instruction without knowing that these services are chargeable. Sometimes, such services are accidentally activated.
“Music- or video-related VAS — such as caller ring back tune, background music, wall paper, etc., — shall not be provided, even if it is provided free of charge, without taking the explicit consent of the consumer in the above manner,” a TRAI order said.