TRAI Announces Much Needed VAS Activation & De-Activation Procedures!


Few weeks back, my father came upto me and told me that his prepaid mobile balance keeps disappearing even if does not make calls or send smses. It did not take me much time to realize that he had subscribed to some odd ringtone service, that was eating up all his balance. When asked about it, he (obviously) did not have any knowledge of subscribing to any ringtone service.

I am sure everyone of us have encountered this one time or the other. This is because nearly all telecom operators sometimes resort to unscrupulous ways of adding these VAS to their subscribers.

It is not that operators just add those paid VAS without customer’s knowledge, but the consent is got in such a way that subscriber fails to understand that he has subscribed to a paid service.

But, that will soon be a history!

TRAI has time and again got complaints in this regard, and they have finally taken action on it.

TRAI has issued a directive that lays down clear procedures on how telecom operators can activate or de-activate Value Added Services for their subscribers.

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Procedures Laid Down by TRAI for VAS Subscriptions

VAS Activation

  1. VAS activations can be done through all these channels – OBD, IVRS, WAP, Mobile Internet, USSD, SMS, Tele-calling and any other mode of activation.
  2. A VAS cannot be activated unless operator takes a explicit second consent from customer.
        1. The first consent for offering VAS will be done on operators platform itself.
        2. However, the second second confirmation from the customer will happen through a
          dedicated consent gateway which is owned by a third party and not by the operator themselves.
        3. Activation of VAS will happen only after second confirmation is received from the customer.
        4. when the activations are done through SMS or USSD channels, if the customer does not respond, it has be be treated as “no activation required”.

VAS De-Activation

  1. The de-activation needs to be done through a Free Common Short Code 155223 and it needs to be deactivate within 4 hours of receiving the confirmation from subscriber.
  2. The deactivation procedure will be advertised through advertisements and SMS intimations

Vas Renewals

  1. For VAS renewals (and auto renewals), operator will have inform the customer through SMS as well as Outbound Dialing.

In addition to this, TRAI has also notified operators that in case they do a wrong VAS activation, the amount should be refunded back to customer within 24 hours of customer complaint.

This is a great move by TRAI to protect the interest of consumers – Wrongful VAS activations and da-activation was a long standing issues with mobile consumers and with these new procedures coming into place, complaints in this regards should drastically come down.

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