TRAI: Activation of VAS only on second confirmation

NEW DELHI: With the aim of reducing complaints relating to value added services (VAS) offered by telecom service providers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 10 July said any will be activated only after receiving a second confirmation from the customer.

In the directions issued by it, TRAI says the service provider has to provide a system which takes a second consent from the customer before providing a value added service through any means - OBD, IVRS, WAP, Mobile Internet, USSD, SMS, Tele-calling or any other mode of activation.

The first offer of a service is on the service providers‘ platform and a second confirmation from the customer is through a dedicated consent gateway which is owned by a third party and not by the service provider.

At the outset, TRAI said activation of VAS by service providers has been the cause of many customer complaints. The Authority has been addressing, from time to time, consumer issues, which have come to its notice through consumer complaints, relating to activation of value added service through different modes, without the explicit consent of the consumer. These directions essentially prescribe the manner in which the explicit consent of the consumer is to be obtained for activation of value added services through different modes. While issuing these directions, the Authority has also considered the interests of the service providers and growth of value added service industry.

In partial modification of existing directions, TRAI has directed all Service providers to implement a uniform procedure for taking explicit consent of the consumer for activation of value added service and for deactivation of value added service.

A Common de-activation procedure using toll Free Common Short Code 155223 has been provided and all requests for de-activation have to be completed in four hours).

VAS activation procedure will henceforth include all forms of activations and scenarios - OBD, IVRS, WAP, Mobile Internet, USSD, SMS, Tele-calling and any other mode of activation.

The deactivation procedure should be publicised through advertisements in newspapers, updation in the website and SMS blasts.

A full 24 hours before auto renewals of the VAS services, information about renewals to be provided to the customers, through SMS and Outbound Dialing (OBD).

In case of wrong activation, the amount will be refunded within 24 hours of the customer‘s request. Such customer requests should be within 24 hours for VAS with validity of more than one day and within 6 hours for VAS with validity of one day.

In case of USSD and SMS mode of activation, no activation response time should be more than 10 seconds and 60 minutes respectively and in case of non-response, the same should be treated as ‘no activation required‘.

Upon activation of VAS service, the de-activation number, the validity of the VAS service and charges for renewal should be explicitly informed.

A Monthly report on activations, de-activations and complaints received and their redressal to be submitted to TRAI.

The directions for obtaining explicit consent of consumers for subscribing, renewing and deactivation of Value added services are available on TRAI website

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