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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Trai proposes amending complaint norms, soon report high mobile bills through sms

NEW DELHI: Mobile phone users will soon be able to file complaints against problems such as poor network coverage or inflated bills through text messages, email, regular post or couriers apart from the existing ways of lodging complaints with operators. Making it easier for consumers to lodge complaints, telecom regulator Trai asked telecom service providers to make these systems available. 

Trai proposed this amendment in complaint norms on July 30, adding that customers be allowed to appeal before the Appellate Authority, the top body in customer grievance redressal, after customer care and nodal officers has not been able to resolve problem faced by customers. 

Trai has proposed these changes after conducting customer outreach programs in 20 cities. It also received representations from consumers and consumer organisations that the information about Appellate Authority was not easily accessible to consumers. Direct access to appellate authority was proposed after Trai noticed that the top body was not receiving any appeals in spite of a large number of unresolved complaints at the lower levels. Views of stakeholders have been invited on this draft proposal by August 14. 

Trai had refurbished its customer redressal norms in January last year after a gap of five years, when it made it compulsory for all telcos to set up complaint centres with toll free consumer care numbers that may be accessed from any service provider's network. Operators were also mandated to set up a web-based complaint monitoring system through which consumers can track their complaints. The directive also enabled customers to call the complaint centre of their respective operators for no charge, freeing them from average payments of 50 paise for every three minute call to customer care. 

Customers could also use a website to monitor their complaints and locate customer care and general information numbers of different telecoms firms. For those consumers who want to file complaints, contact details of appellate authority set up by service providers will also be available at the portal. The changes allowed for better and faster resolution to consumers' telecom problems.

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