Television

TRAI directs Internet Service Providers to obtain explicit consent before providing chargeable Value Added Services

The Authority today issued a Direction making it mandatory for Internet Service Providers to obtain explicit consent of the subscribers before making Value Added Services chargeable. TRAI had earlier issued similar Direction to the Fixed and Mobile operators.

2. The Direction is in the context of instances that have come to notice where Internet Service Providers charge the subscribers for Value Additions without obtaining their explicit consent. A prominent Internet Service Provider had recently provided Value Additions in the form of 'unlimited access' at a monthly fee. The service was activated to all dial-up customers with the condition that unless the customer calls the Customer Care of the operator on a specific number and un-subscribes the service, the monthly charge gets automatically applicable.

3. In the cases as cited above, the onus of declining the chargeable service is put on the customer. There could be a possibility that in case the customer fails to un-subscribe for the service due to any reason, he starts getting charged without his concurrence. This amounts to offering and charging for a service without the explicit consent of the customer. With this Direction, the Authority intends to put an end to such practices.

( M. KANNAN )

ADVISOR (ECO.)

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