To protect the interest of mobile subscribers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued new guidelines to the service providers, on the procedures for providing value added services (VAS) and for their de-activation.
Now service providers will have to seek consent of the subscribers not once but twice.
The service provider had to provide a system which took a second consent from the customer before providing a value added service through any means, said secretary of TRAI Rajeev Agrawal.
The first offer of a service was on the service providers’ platform and a second confirmation from the customer was through a dedicated consent gateway owned by a third party and not by the service provider, he said.
The service provider shall activate the value added service only after receiving a second confirmation from the customer.
In partial modification of existing directions, TRAI has directed all service providers to implement a uniform procedure for taking explicit consent of the consumer for activation or deactivation of value added service.
Activation of value added services by service providers has been a major complaint with customers and is a cause of concern for the TRAI as well.
From time to time, the authority has been addressing issues which have come to its notice through complaints relating to activation of value added service through different modes, without the explicit consent of the consumer.
These directions essentially prescribe the manner in which the explicit consent of the consumer is to be obtained for activation of value added services through different modes.
While issuing these directions, the authority has also considered the interests of the service providers and growth of value added service industry.
Also 24 hours before auto renewals of the VAS services, information about renewals is to be provided to the customers, through SMS and outbound dialling (OBD).
In case of wrong activation, the amount shall be refunded within 24 hours of the customer’s request.
Such customer requests should be within 24 hours for value added services with validity of more than one day and within 6 hours for value added services with validity of one day.
There will also be a procedure for common de-activation using toll free common short code 155223.
All requests for de-activation are to be fulfilled in 4 hours.
The deactivation procedure is to be publicised through advertisements in newspapers, updation in the website and SMSes.
In case of SMS mode of activation, no activation response time should be greater than 10 seconds and 60 minutes respectively and in case of non-response, the same should be treated as ‘no activation required’.
Upon activation of VAS service, the de-activation number, the validity of the VAS service and charges for renewal should be explicitly informed. Monthly report on activations, de-activations and complaints received and their redressal is to be submitted to TRAI.
The directions for obtaining explicit consent of consumers for subscribing, renewing and deactivation of value added services are available on TRAI website http://www.trai.gov.in.