In order to improve customer services for telecom (Mobile, Basic Phone Phone and Internet) users in India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today said that all telecom operators will have to set up Complaint Centers, Toll Free Helpline/Care Line and Web-based monitoring systems for their subscribers within 45 days as per the new “Consumer Grievance Redressal Guidelines 2012“.
According to the telecom watchdog TRAI, the new rules to enhance the effectiveness of customer services will come into force with immediate effect. Every telecom service provider in India will have to ensure Redressal of the complaints and service requests in accordance with the time-frame as specified under the authority’s quality of service regulations.
Announcing the ‘Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, 2012, TRAI said, “These regulations will apply to all service providers, including PSUs and other private operators providing Basic telephone service, Unified access services (UAS), Cellular Mobile telephone service (CMTS) , Internet service,”
TRAI also said that “within 45 days from the date of commencement of these regulations, telecom companies will have to establish a complaint centre and establish a general information number for providing information to consumers. Each operator will have to publish a citizen’s charter containing the information including name and address of the operator, the services offered and terms and conditions.
REDRESSAL OF COMPLAINTS FROM TELECOM CONSUMERS :
Establishment of Complaint Centre :
* Every service provider shall, within forty five days from the date of commencement of these regulations, establish a Complaint Centre for redressal of complaints and for addressing service requests of its consumers.
Provided further that a service provider, who is providing different services in a licensed service area, may, at its option, set up one or more Complaint Centres, being common or separate, for such services being provided by it; Provided also that a Complaint Centre for a service area shall provide the service in the local language of that service area in addition to Hindi and English.
(2)Every service provider, who is granted a licence for any service mentioned under sub-regulation of regulation 1, after the commencement of these regulations, shall, before providing services, establish a Complaint Centre in its service area, for redressal of complaints and for addressing service requests of
(3) Every Complaint Centre shall be accessible to the consumers between 0800 hrs and 2400 hrs on all days of the week.
(4) Every service provider shall deploy sufficient number of employees at its Complaint Centres to meet the Quality of Service parameters, as may be specified by the Authority from time to time.
(5) Every service provider shall ensure that the Complaint Centre is accessible to its consumers through a “Consumer Care Number” having sufficient lines or connections.
(6)Every service provider shall ensure that the Complaint Center is also
accessible through the network of other service providers by earmarking a specific number.
(7) The “Consumer Care Number” shall be toll free.
(8) The Authority may, through directions, issued from time to time, specify a uniform short code for “Consumer Care Number”, which may be common for Basic telephone services, Cellular mobile telephone service and Internet service, or different for different services.
(9) Every service provider shall ensure that an Interactive Voice Response System or IVRS, if installed on a “Consumer Care Number”, is operated in the following manner:- (a) the first level of the IVRS provides for language selection; (b) the second level of the IVRS provides for options relating to the broad categories of complaints and service requests; (c) the third level of the IVRS provides for a sub-menu under complaints and service requests, separately; Provided that the sub-menu in the third level shall also contain an option enabling the consumer to speak to a consumer care agent
Setting up of Toll Free General Information Number:
(1) Every service provider shall, within forty-five days from the date of commencement of these regulations, establish a “General Information Number” for providing information to consumers;Provided that this is not mandatory where general information is also provided on the Consumer Care Number on a toll free basis.
Establishment of Complaint Monitoring System :
Every service provider shall, within forty-five days of coming into force of these regulations, establish a ‘Web Based Complaint Monitoring System’ to enable the consumers to monitor the status of their complaints.
Handling of complaints by Complaint Centre :
(1) Every Complaint Centre shall, immediately on receipt of a complaint from a consumer, register such complaint and allot a unique number to be called the docket number.
At the time of registering of the complaint, Complaint Centre shall –
(i) Communicate, through SMS, to the consumer the docket number, date and time of registration of the complaint and the time within which the complaint is likely to be resolved.
(ii) Update the system with the date and time of registration of the complaint, docket number assigned under sub-regulation(1), the telephone number of the consumer, and the time indicated to the consumer for resolution of the complaint.
On completion of action on a complaint.:
(i) Communicate to the consumer, through SMS, the details of the action taken on the complaint; and
(ii) Update the system with the details of action taken.
Time limit for redressal of complaints or addressing service requests of consumers :
(1) Every service provider shall ensure redressal of the complaints and service requests in accordance with the time frame as specified under the Quality of Service regulations issued by the Authority.
(2) Where a time limit has not been specified under the Quality of Service regulations issued by the Authority, the complaints and service requests shall be addressed within a time period not exceeding three days.