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Telecomm regulatory body cracks whip on telcos, again

TRAI wants telcos to setup complaint centers and a web based monitoring system for customers to track the status of their complaints. Among other things.
Written by Manan Kakkar, Contributor

There's a funny feeling when a government body makes a bunch private companies do something for the better of the consumer. A moral victory of sorts. I've said this often, with pride, mobile telephony in India is way better than the US. It is cheaper and the bureaucrats ensure consumer benefits are put ahead of private interests. The telecomm authority (TRAI) has taken steps to curb SMS marketing spam and called out companies that made it difficult for users to avail number portability. Continuing with their let's tell the operators whose the boss attitude, TRAI is now making it mandatory for telcos to setup complaint portals, make these accessible by users to track the status and not only give the user a timeline as to when their grievance will be resolved but also make customer care calls free. (Yes, the telcos in India started charging for them lately.)

Going through the regulations proposed it almost reads as if Sheldon had kids and he was grounding them. According to TRAI, the telcos have to:

  • Establish a complaint center that will operate 7 days a week, 8 AM to 12 AM
  • A toll free customer care number will be setup
  • The third IVR sub-menu should have the option to speak to a human representative
  • Establish a General Information Number (telcos might be exempt from this if the information is provided via the Customer Care Number)
  • The General Info and Customer Care numbers will have to published in leading newspapers, update SIM cards over-the-air, publish these numbers on the websites, bills and in stores
  • Setup a web-based Complaint Monitoring System (information to access this system will also have to be published in newspapers)
  • A complaint recorded will have an automated SMS with complaint details sent to the user; once resolved, an update must be sent via SMS
  • The complaints need to be stored in the system for at least 3 months
  • A consumer, if not satisfied by the customer care service, can appeal to the Appellate Authority for Redressal of Consumer Complaints

Hair loss reasons: Mobile phone after-sales support


In another document titled Telecom Consumers Protection Regulation, 2012, TRAI has listed several steps to be taken by the telcos to ensure a customer is not tricked by pricing strategies. The document asks telcos to provide customers accurate and timely information about their usage, cost incurred and the remaining balance. (Pre-paid customers are as of now updated at the end of each activity about the cost incurred and the remaining balance.) Further, according to the regulations telcos can have only 3 types of vouchers marketed to the end user:

  1. Plan: No monetary value, used to enroll the customer into a plan; color code—Red
  2. Top-up: Monetary value in Rupees, no restriction on validity and usage; color code—Green
  3. Special Tariff: indicates value, applicable plan and restrictions; color code—Yellow


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