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Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006


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Telecom billing to be audited every year

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Authority puts in place guidelines to address complaints

Fits the bill
Customers must be informed in advance of all the charges and tariffs of a service
If there is a change in charges, an operator will have to get a written consent from the subscriber before he commits to using the service.

New Delhi , March 21

In a bid to address consumer complaints relating to billing, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has decided to appoint independent auditors to monitor billing systems put in place by service providers.

The telecom regulator has also issued guidelines and benchmarks for operators for reliable metering and billing system.

The move comes after TRAI undertook an audit of the billing systems put in place by the operators. "TRAI had been receiving complaints on billing related matters. These complaints cover areas such as inability to verify the bills, not having clarity about the tariff scheme on which they are being billed, delay in refund, non-adjustment of credits in the bills, etc. The auditing of the billing systems of mobile operators revealed that while the billing systems being used by various operators are comparable to other systems being deployed by major international players, some of the processes followed by the mobile operators lead to customer complaints and customer dissatisfaction," it said in its order today.

TRAI has specified that customers must be informed in advance of all the charges and tariffs of a service.

In case there is a change in the charges, an operator will have to get a written consent from the subscriber before he commits to using the service. Payments made by a post-paid customer shall be credited to his account within three working days of receipt of the cash or cheque. For pre-paid customers, top-up credit shall be applied to a customer's account within 15 minutes of its application.

When the service provider intends to restrict or cease service to the customer, a notice shall be provided to the customer in advance so that the customer has reasonable time to take preventive action to avoid restriction or cessation of service.

Related Stories:
Status quo on differential mobile tariffs to continue
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