Activating a service like caller tunes without the consent of the customer amounts to adopting unfair trade practice. The verdict was held by a city consumer forum while penalising a mobile phone service provider for recovering charges towards a music service that was started without a user’s consent.
The Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Forum has directed the mobile phone service provider to pay Rs 5,000 to Juhu Road resident Suman Pandey for deducting Rs 60 from her prepaid account towards charges for the company’s music service for October and November 2011.
According to the woman’s complaint, the mobile service provider had started a music service on her phone sometime prior to October 2011. On October 14 and November 13 Rs30 each was deducted towards charges for the service for two months.
The Juhu Road resident realised that the music service had been started on her phone only when she received a SMS stating the music service would be renewed in three days and also suggested to send an SMS to a particular number for deactivating the service. Accordingly she sent the SMS and the service was deactivated. She approached the consumer forum after the mobile service provider declined to refund the amount deducted from her pre-paid account. Acting on her complaint, the forum issued a notice to the mobile service provider company, which chose not to respond to it. Finally, in an ex-parte order, the consumer forum held the company guilty of adopting unfair trade practice for starting the music service without the consent of the customer.
“The opponent (service provider) started the music service without the consent of the customer, and therefore, we are compelled to conclude that the opponent adopted unfair trade practice,” said the bench of forum president JL Deshpande and member Deepa Bidnurkar.