Mobile phone refunds need urgent action | india | Hindustan Times
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Mobile phone refunds need urgent action

A reader recently wrote about how he had not got his security deposit from a cellphone company two months after surrendering the connection. Their call centres were useless, he added for effect.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2009 23:31 IST
Puspa Girimaji

A reader recently wrote about how he had not got his security deposit from a cellphone company two months after surrendering the connection. Their call centres were useless, he added for effect.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has clearly mandated that security deposits should be refunded within 60 days, failing which interest must be paid at 10 per cent per annum.

However, I must add in this age of computerisation, I do not see why service providers should be given two months to play with consumer money.

Why can’t refund be given just after disconnection after a quick check of the dues position? There is a clear case for higher penal interest on delays.

Also, as per the Telecom Consumers Protection and Redressal of Grievances Regulation 2007, if a call centre is unable to satisfactorily resolve a complaint, then the consumer should be informed of the nodal officer who can be contacted. It is obvious that in this case, the call centre failed to do so, thereby violating the regulation.

The TRAI website too gives the full contact details of nodal officers and appellate authorities of various service providers.

Every service provider has to maintain a complete and accurate record of the redressal of grievances. TRAI can have it audited by an independent authority.

In this context, a recent statement by TRAI chairman J S Sarma that the regulator isplanning a grievance monitoring system is most welcome. In fact, TRAI should rate service providers on the basis of grievances and penalise poor performers.

(The writer is senior journalist, consumer affairs specialist)