TRAI issues new customer service guidelines
Mobile phone subscribers can expect better and faster resolution to their problems from service providers as the telecom regulator Trai has introduced improved regulations regarding addressing consumer complaints on Thursday.
The regulator has said that all telcos must compulsorily set up a ‘complaint centre’ with a toll free ‘consumer care number’ which can be accessed from any service provider’s network. Operators have also been mandated to set up a webbased complaint monitoring system through which consumers can track their complaints.
Currently, most operators don’t allow access to their customer care or complaint centres from the networks of other operators. Importantly, the Trai directive will also enable customers to call the complaint centre of their respective operators for free. At present, most telcos charge for calls made to their customer care numbers.
The telecom regulator has instructed service provider to do away with the nodal officer-the middle layer between the call center and appellate authority–making the complaint redressal system of only two layers.
According to the regulator, consumers will get a unique docket number while registering their complaints that will be in the system (of telcos) for at least three months. Consumers will get the docket number along with date and time of registration and time limit for solving the complaint.
This and action taken on the complaint will be shared with consumers through a text message, the regulator added.
It has also mandated service providers to create a two-member advisory committee in each service area comprising a member from Trai-registered consumer organization and the other from the mobile operator. The committee will advise on all appeals placed before it to the appellate authority.
Further, mobile operators will publish a citizen’s charter that will contain different time frames specified by the authority for various complaints and various procedures related to services like mobile number portability, amount to be deducted and consumer’s rights, the regulator said.
Trai had announced these new regulations for consumer complaints redressal after holding five open-house meetings across the country. These new rules will replace the earlier norms that were introduced five years ago.