Ms. Indu Malhotra


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Ms. Indu Malhotra

  1. 1. TDSAT Seminar 20 th October, 2007 Srinagar Consumer Rights under the TRAI Act, 1997 & Redressal of Consumer Grievances by Indu Malhotra Sr. Advocate Supreme Court of India
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION <ul><li>TRAI </li></ul><ul><li>TDSAT </li></ul>
  3. 3. TELECOM REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA ACT,1997 <ul><li>TRAI was constituted to regulate the Telecommunication services by TRAI Act,1997. </li></ul><ul><li>Later, Broadcasting & Cable services were also brought within its purview by the Amendment Act of 2000. </li></ul><ul><li>Within a decade, the TRAI has played an effective role in regulating this industry by open house discussions, framing Regulations, Issuing Notifications & Tariff Orders, organizing seminars at various locations. </li></ul>
  4. 4. TRAI: THE REGULATOR <ul><li>TRAI has taken various steps to protect the interest of the Consumers. </li></ul><ul><li>The consumers interests have been protected by TRAI broadly under the following heads : </li></ul><ul><li>1. Access – through “Must Provide Clause on non discriminatory basis” </li></ul><ul><li>2. Quality </li></ul><ul><li>3. Price </li></ul><ul><li>4. Choice- mode, program and price. </li></ul>
  5. 5. QUALITY & CHOICE <ul><li>Under S.11(1)(b)(v) the TRAI lays down standards of quality of service so as to protect the consumer interest </li></ul><ul><li>Over the last few years, the number of channels have rapidly multiplied </li></ul><ul><li>At present, the number of channels being offered are far in excess than what can be carried through the existing analogue systems </li></ul><ul><li>TRAI recommended to GOI to bring digital transmission in Cable TV industry. </li></ul><ul><li>In the analogue mode the max no. of channels that can be transmitted are about 70, with a choked bandwidth. </li></ul><ul><li>Today there are 260 channels registered with the GOI. </li></ul><ul><li>Digital transmission will give greater choice to consumers by increased channel carrying capacity, better reception of quality and new features such as program guides etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Digital technology in cable TV must take place at the earliest for the cable medium to compete with other delivery platforms for signal distribution. </li></ul>
  6. 6. PRICING <ul><li>TRAI has issued various notifications/tariff orders to regulate pricing of pay channels. </li></ul><ul><li>TRAI issued tariff Order dt. 15.1.2004 freezing the price of all pay channels as on 26.12.2003. </li></ul><ul><li>A further enhancement by 7% was permitted w.e.f 1.1.2005. </li></ul><ul><li>In CAS areas, for pay channels, by notification dated.31.8.2006 ceiling was fixed at Rs.5 in consumer interest. </li></ul><ul><li>In non CAS areas the TRAI has issued Tariff (Eighth Amendment) Order 4.10.2007( effective from 1.12.2007) fixing a ceiling at Rs.260 in A1 & A cities for 45 pay channels & 30 FTA </li></ul><ul><li>TRAI has also now mandated every broadcaster to specify and offer all channels on a-la-carte rate, in addition to a bouquet rate. </li></ul>
  7. 7. RECENT MEASURES <ul><li>The Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communications Regulations 2007 notified on 5.6.2007 to curb unsolicited commercial calls through telemarketing to protect consumers from invasion on privacy. </li></ul><ul><li>There are over 212 million telephone subscribers across the country today. </li></ul><ul><li>The Authority does not ban telemarketing, but only restricts the incidence of unwanted UCC ( Unwanted Commercial Communication). </li></ul>
  8. 8. SALIENT FEATURES <ul><li>To make telemarketers accountable, TRAI has mandated compulsory registration with DOT within 3 months.( effective on publication ) </li></ul><ul><li>Hence only a registered telemarketer can be subscriber of a Telecom Service provider. </li></ul><ul><li>If an existing telemarketer fails to register within the stipulated period, the SPs have been authorised to disconnect their telephone connection </li></ul><ul><li>TRAI has mandated all access providers to will set up a mechanism to receive request from the subscribers who do not want to receive UCC. </li></ul><ul><li>They will maintain a Private Do Not Call List which will include telephone numbers and other detaild of such subscribers’ </li></ul><ul><li>This data will be updated to a NDNC Registry. </li></ul><ul><li>The NDNC registry to be established in 3 months time by the National Informatics Centre. </li></ul><ul><li>After the establishment of the NDMC registry, telephone subscribers ( landline or cellular ) can register their telephone nos with the SPs for inclusion in the NDNC. </li></ul><ul><li>Telemarketers will have to verify their calling numbers list with the NDNC Registry before making a call. </li></ul>
  9. 9. COMPLAINTS OF UCC <ul><li>In case a subscriber receives UCC after expiry of 45 days from registration in the NDNC Register he may make a Complaint to his Service provider. </li></ul><ul><li>The SP shall within 7 days verify & investigate the complaint, and WARN the guilty telemarketer to discontinue the sending of such UCC to the complainant. </li></ul><ul><li>If the UCC is repeated, a 2 nd time , the originating access provider shall charge the tariff specified in the Telecom Tariff Order 1999 as amended by the Telecom Tariff ( 45 th Amendment) Order, 2007 to be charged from the sender by the access SP. </li></ul><ul><li>If the customer sends the UCC for the 3 rd time, the originating access provider shall disconnect the telephone of the guilty telemarketer. </li></ul>
  10. 10. TDSAT: THE ADJUDICATOR <ul><li>TDSAT established under S.14 of the TRAI Act,1997 as amended by the Amendment Act,2000. </li></ul><ul><li>Under S.14 it is empowered to adjudicate disputes between:- </li></ul><ul><li>A licensor and licensee </li></ul><ul><li>Two or more service providers </li></ul><ul><li>A service provider and a group of consumers. </li></ul><ul><li>Individual consumers can approach the Consumer Fora. </li></ul>
  11. 11. REDRESSAL OF CONSUMER GRIEVANCES <ul><li>The Call Centres & Inter Active Voice Response System are ineffective & lack human face ; to remedy this problem, the Authority introduced in-house institutional mechanism to make it responsive & consumer sensitive. </li></ul><ul><li>TRAI has published the Telecom Protection & Redressal of Grievances Regulations, 2007 ( 3 of 2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Every SP shall establish a Call Centre with toll free no., accessible 24/7, for redressal of grievances of its consumers, within 60 days of the Regulations coming into force. </li></ul><ul><li>For disruption / disconnection of service, complaints to be redressed within 3 days of registration of complaint ; for other complaints, a time limit of 7 days is prescribed </li></ul><ul><li>Every SP shall designate Nodal Officers in each of its licensed service area, who shall redress complaints within time limits prescribed. </li></ul>
  12. 12. WHERE SHOULD THE CONSUMER GO? <ul><li>Appellate Authority to be established by the SP to hear & dispose off appeals and ensure that the status/ details of appeals are exhibited on the website </li></ul><ul><li>The Authority may refer to SPs Complaints alleging violation of Act or Regulations or Complaints which are generic. </li></ul><ul><li>Every SP shall publish a Manual of Practice for handling consumer complaints. </li></ul>
  13. 13. IMPORTANT HIGHLIGHTS OF TDSAT’s DECISIONS <ul><li>TDSAT has now prescribed ad valorem Court fee to prevent the filing of frivolous complaints. </li></ul><ul><li>Re CAS : By the interactive system in set top box the consumer can get pay channels of his choice & pay separately for channels. </li></ul>
  14. 14. THANK YOU <ul><li>INDU MALHOTRA </li></ul><ul><li>SR. ADVOCATE </li></ul><ul><li>OCTOBER 20, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>SRINAGAR. </li></ul>