TRAI has taken a serious note of Telecom Operators presenting convoluted ways of presenting the Tariff advertisements, which essentially are not understood clearly by a average mobile user and hence gets fleeced by the mobile operator. In this view TRAI has issued guidelines for standardization of Tariff advertisements published by Mobile Operators. These guidelines have been finalized after extensive consultations with the stakeholders and ‘Open House Discussions’ across the country.
Following are the 3 guidelines put forth by TRAI
- A tariff advertisement is considered to be misleading, which in any way, is likely to induce the consumer to subscribe to a tariff plan, which he would not have subscribed; contains an untrue statement; omits a material fact having bearing on the subscriber’s decision; and fails to disclose attached limitations and restrictions.
- The Telecom service providers have to ensure that advertisements published by them – are transparent and non-misleading and unambiguous; disclose all material information in unambiguous manner; contain the website address and customer care number of the telecom access service provider; and the advertisements issued in vernacular languages contain all the mandatory disclosures in the same vernacular language.
- The Telecom service provider should maintain an advertisement register which must include a specimen of every tariff related advertisements, and carry out internal audit to ensure that they are complying with all aspects of this Direction and to report compliance to the Authority on half yearly basis.
This new directive by TRAI will be quite beneficial for the Indian mobile users, especially the ones who did not understand the complex plans that mobile service provider used to present.
However, my worry is – what if Telecom Operator does not follow the rules. There are no penalties mentioned, neither are regulations laid down in detail. Being short and concise they are open for interpretation, which I am sure the operator will take advantage of. The consultation paper that was released earlier regarding the same had quite a few points to make the tariff’s in a standard format. However, it seems that some operators may not have agreed to same.
What’s your take?