The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, is one prudent watchdog, meticulously scrutinizing and keeping service providers wary of the rules and laws of the land. TRAI, works ceaselessly to ensure that consumers are not bogged down by the negative aspects of service providers, for whom India is the best economy. This government body, is the nodal agency for the government to implement and enforce policies across all networks and associations. TRAI recently called into question operators over MNP irregularities committed, and even brought about the per second billing plan, to prevent unwarranted and unhealthy schemes from ripping off users. TRAI also came down harshly against telemarketers who are more than misusing phone lines and invading privacy of the citizens.
Now TRAI, has devised a mode of stringently applying its policy against telemarketing harassment to users, by forcing operators to make a common number workable across all existing networks, using which unwanted services can be stopped once and for all. Now, if you are troubled by telemarketing calls, and advertisements simply dial 155223 from anywhere in India to deactivate these and stop further annoyances. The IVR was prompt and the telemarketing calls were instantly disabled when tested through various operators in various places.
Another major problem faced by tele-service consumers is incorrect billing with regard to Value Added Services. It has been noted, that several users have complained that they were charged for services not subscribed to. To rectify this problem, this new service also provides the ability to submit a complaint within 24 hours of activation, with the result being that the operator will be compelled to discontinue the service complained against, and the amount charged to the bill will have to be refunded. However, failure to submit the complaint within 24 hours of activation, will not give the user a refund, however the service will be deactivated thereby preventing charging of the service in the next billing cycle. Perhaps, the 24 hour cap could be increased to 48 hours, since this margin for calculating estoppel is rather unfavorably and unrealistically narrow.
Apart from this TRAI has made it clear that operators have to obtain clear and unequivocal consent from users before activating a service on that number. Such consent can be obtained only through SMS, e-mail, FAX or in writing within 24 hours, so this means that there will be no room for ambiguity and challenge. If the consent is not received within 24 hours, the activated service will have to be deactivated and the amount will have to be refunded.
TRAI has not only woken up now. This problem has been understood back in 2011, which was when TRAI first issued directive to telecom operators to obtain explicit consent from consumers prior to charging them. A natural reaction to this directive by the telecom Companies and Firms was that such consent would be a burden on them financially, in turn resulting in other setbacks. With this plea, the Companies moved the telecom Tribunal seeking a decision striking down this directive as violate and arbitrary. The Tribunal however upheld the validity of the directive and ordered strict compliance of the same.