Telecom regulator TRAI today recommended that international roaming SIM card and global calling card providers should pay Rs 5,000 as compensation to consumers who face service failure during an overseas travel. The compensation of Rs 5,000 has been suggested by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) both for pre-paid and post-paid subscribers. Pre-paid customers should additionally get full refund of the amount they have already paid to the service provider, TRAI suggested to the telecom department, DoT. The regulator’s recommendations pertain to the sale and rent of international roaming SIM cards and global calling cards of foreign operators in India. The compensation has been recommended in cases of “non- activation of services, no usage of the card for reasons beyond the control of the customer like poor network coverage, in-compatibility of handsets etc”.
TRAI has also said that the penalty and refund should be remitted to the customer within 15 days of their return and reporting non-usage of the card. The sector regulator also suggested cancellation of the permits of such companies in case 10 per cent of the total international SIM cards sold by them are found to be non- working. The regulator recommended that international SIM card sellers should set up grievance redressal mechanism. For early settlement of complaints they should set up an appellate authority having representation from the company and the telecom department, it said.
TRAI has also recommended that purchase of global calling cards and International SIM cards be done though digital mode only that is net banking, credit or debit cards and e-wallets. The move by TRAI follows detailed discussions with international SIM card and global calling card companies, after a number of user complaints were received by the regulator. The discussion between regulator and players was held after an SMS-based survey initiated by the regulator revealed that nearly half the consumers who used such services claimed it worked partially or did not work at all. TRAI has also favoured cancellation of permits of 23 companies which did not respond to its call for discussion on the issue.