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TRAI issues Consultation Paper on "Complaints/Grievance Redressal in Telecom Sector"

New Delhi, Fri, 29 Jul 2016 NI Wire

The telecom sector in India has grown rapidly in the last decade and subscriptions have crossed 1 billion. These subscribers are filing large numbers of complaints with the Telecom Service Providers [TSPs]. The complaints are on account of wrong billing, indifferent or poor quality of service, non-provision of contracted services, etc. Unsatisfactory resolution of the consumer complaints, by the TSPs, is resulting in complaints and grievances being forwarded to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Department of Telecom (DoT) on a regular basis.

As per the existing Legal and Regulatory framework, the individual consumer grievance redressal is outside the purview of the TRAI Licensing conditions for the TSPs stipulates that "All complaints of subscribers in this regard will be addressed/ handled as per the orders or regulations or directions issued by the Licensor or TRAI from time to time." Accordingly TRAI has from time to time issued Regulations specifying the broad frame work of the complaint redressal mechanism that all TSPs should establish and maintain within their organizations.

The role and, impact of telecommunication services has metamorphosed from being a communication tool to a critical instrument for the social and economic development of the country. It is imperative that consumer complaints and public grievances in the telecom space are resolved in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner through a system that is easily available all across the country. Without such a system, benefits of the telecom revolution, which encompasses provision of a variety of services, such as banking, money transfer, govt. Services, to the public will miss the intended target. It is therefore appropriate to revisit the issue of redressal of individual consumer complaints and grievances in the telecom space. This paper is issued with this objective.

This Paper presents an overview of the existing consumer grievance mechanisms and its efficacy, the mechanisms in place in other countries and within India in other sectors of similar size and its impact, the problem areas etc. It seeks views, opinions and comments from stake holders on possible options to improve the existing grievance redressal mechanism, alternatives including establishing an office of Telecom Ombudsman etc.

The consultation Paper is available on TRAI website Written comments on the issues raised on the consultation paper are invited from the stakeholders by 18th August 2016 and counter comments by 26th August 2016.

For any clarification/information Shri Sanjeet Singh, Advisor (Consumer Affairs), TRAI may be contacted at Tel: 011-23237024, Fax No.011-23237749.

Source: PIB

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