Telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed all Indian telecom service providers to seek explicit consent of consumers before activating value-added services embedded in SIM cards.
This seems to check mis-selling sim card by telecom operators. The regulator said that it has received complaints wherein value added services (VAS) embedded in the SIM card were activated by operators without consent.
The regulator observed that the genesis of some of the complaints is that a number of VAS products are embedded in the SIM card and in many cases the consumer accidentally or unknowingly clicks these products and the consumer is immediately charged for the service. In such cases, “the consumer is not provided with any information regarding the applicable charges and also without being offered any opportunity to give consent as to whether he wants to proceed or not,” said a TRAI statement.
Earlier, TRAI had directed telecom operators to obtain explicit consent of consumers through consumer originated SMS or e-mail or FAX or in writing within 24 hours of activation of the value added service and charge the consumer only if confirmation is received from them.
“The services embedded in SIM cards relate to pay use VAS products and are not subscription based VAS products and the telecom operators have not implemented its directions for such products,” it further added.
TRAI has directed all access service providers to ensure within sixty days of issue of this direction that the VAS for products embedded in SIM application tool kit (STK) of SIM card is provided to the consumer only after obtaining the explicit consent of the consumer.
In the mean time, the telecom operators said that since SIM embedded VAS products are not subscription based and TRAI’s directions are applicable for only subscription based VAS.