Rule to bring telecom disputes under consumer act this fiscal

The government is considering to change existing law in this fiscal to enable telecom users approach consumer forum for the redressal of their disputes.

New Delhi: The government is considering to change existing law in this fiscal to enable telecom users approach consumer forum for the redressal of their disputes.

An amendment will be brought about in the Indian Telegraph Act, which at present allows cumbersome arbitration route for addressing consumer grievances.

"It is one of the objectives under National Telecom Policy 2012. Early date to make this amendment is by end of this year. In case of delay, it should be done by March, 2013," an official in the Department of Telecom said.

The amendment has to be approved by the Cabinet, he added.

At present a consumer has to follow cumbersome process to resolve telecom services dispute through facilities set-up by the company starting from registering complaint with call centre, then approaching nodal officer and finally to Appellate Authority, all these established by the service provider.

Though complaints should be handled as per guideline issued by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India but the process remains largely inclined towards the service provider.

Under the current provision, consumer can file complaint before but the dispute will have to be resolved by Appellate Authority only.

Over 40,000 complaints relating to several issues such as poor network and services against various telecom service providers were received by the DoT between April 1 and October 31, 2011, according to official data.

PTI

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