As consumer complaints soar, Trai eyes new methods to tame telcos

By: | Published: July 29, 2016 6:23 AM

“Unsatisfactory resolution of the consumer complaints by the TSPs (telecom service providers) is resulting in complaints and grievances being forwarded to the Trai and Department of Telecom (DoT) on a regular basis,” the regulator said in the paper.

According to Trai, the country had about 1.04 billion telecom subscribers at the end of June 2016, while 10.23 million of them had filed complaints against telecom operators in the January-March quarter.According to Trai, the country had about 1.04 billion telecom subscribers at the end of June 2016, while 10.23 million of them had filed complaints against telecom operators in the January-March quarter.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Thursday floated a consultation paper seeking stakeholders’ views on forming a redressal mechanism to address consumer complaints, including a proposal to revisit setting up of an ombudsman similar to the banking and insurance sector.

“Unsatisfactory resolution of the consumer complaints by the TSPs (telecom service providers) is resulting in complaints and grievances being forwarded to the Trai and Department of Telecom (DoT) on a regular basis,” the regulator said in the paper.

According to Trai, the country had about 1.04 billion telecom subscribers at the end of June 2016, while 10.23 million of them had filed complaints against telecom operators in the January-March quarter. These pertained to issues of wrong billing, poor quality of services and non-provision of contracted services, among others.

Trai has sought stakeholders’ views on whether there are any consumer complaint redressal mechanisms in place currently, and whether there is a need to strengthen it, or whether any changes need to be made to the existing system. Also, the regulator wants to know whether it should form “an independent and appropriately empowered” body, including a proposal to revisit setting up an “Office of Telecom Ombudsman” to address consumer complaints. Currently, telecom firms are mandated to set up a consumer complaint centre in each of the 22 licensed service areas with a toll-free number. But the mechanism has not been effective, Trai says.

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