TRAI issues new data and SMS packs guidelines to telecoms

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued guidelines on renewal of Special Tariff Vouchers (STVs) pertaining to data and SMS packs offered to consumers by service providers.

TRAI in a statement said it had received complaints of customers regarding renewal of STVs without their consent, after the expiry of the STVs.

“While activating an STV, the mobile consumer is seldom aware of auto-renewal of such an STV and is forced to either continue with the STV or to seek deactivation. The telecom service providers had submitted to TRAI that, in some cases, the offer for the STV provides for renewal and such renewal may be beneficial to consumers who may want to use such vouchers continuously,” said TRAI in a statement.

TRAI says such renewals could be beneficial for consumers if explicit consent of the consumer is taken at least once for such renewals.

As per the Telecom Consumers Protection (Seventh Amendment) Regulations, 2013, renewal of STVs may be allowed for SMS and Data packs (having validity more than 7 days) through Opt-in facility (By taking one time explicit consent of the consumer for such renewals through a prescribed procedure), TRAI said.

There should be a toll-free short code opting out of renewal of STVs at any time through a defined procedure.

Telecom operators need to inform the consumer, three days before the expiry of the validity period of STV, through SMS, the due date of renewal, the charges for renewal, the terms and conditions of renewal, the toll free short code for deactivation of STV.

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