Tuesday, March 27, 2012

TRAI takes steps to Stop Misleading Tariff Advertisements

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) yesterday announced measures to improve transparency in telecom tariff offers so that telecom subscribers can choose the best available tariff plans.

The directions to Telecom access service providers, Preventing Misleading Tariff Advertisements, has been finalised after extensive stakeholder consultations including holding cross-country open house discussions.

TRAI has clarified that a tariff advertisement would be considered misleading if it is likely to induce, in any way, the consumer to subscribe to a tariff plan, which he would not have otherwise subscribed to ; or if it contains an untrue statement or omits a material fact having bearing on the subscriber’s decision or fails to disclose attached limitations and restrictions.

Telecom access service providers have, inter alia, been directed that advertisements issued by them should be transparent, non-misleading and unambiguous; should disclose all material information in an unambiguous manner; contain the website address and customer care number of the telecom access service provider; and the advertisements issued in vernacular languages should contain all the mandatory disclosures in the same vernacular language.

Further, the service providers have been mandated to maintain an advertisement register which must include a specimen of every tariff related advertisements, and must carry out internal audit to ensure that they are complying with all aspects of TRAI’s direction and report compliance to the Authority on half yearly basis.

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