Wed, Dec 21, 2011 - Page 2 News List

CPC shakes up cellphone fees

USER-FRIENDLY?The CPC said telecoms customers could have a percentage of their monthly fees deducted based on the amount of time they are unable to access services

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) on Monday said mobile phone users would pay less in monthly fees if they experience disruptions in service for more than two hours caused by technical errors by the nation’s telecoms carriers.

Currently, users only have their monthly charge cut if they experience service outages for more than 12 hours. The measure is part of amendments to the Standardized Contract of Mobile Communications and Internet Service Act (行動通信網路業務服務契約範本), which have been jointly proposed by the CPC and the National Communications Commission after consultation with telecoms companies.

The amendment says customers can be compensated if they experience errors, delays, interruptions or suspensions of services resulting from problems on the carriers’ side. It also listed the standards for the compensation.

Subscribers disconnected from a service for between two and six hours, for example, would have 5 percent of their monthly fees deducted. Those who are unable to communicate via their mobile phones for more than six hours, but less than eight hours, would have 8 percent of their monthly rental fees subtracted. If the service is unavailable for more than eight hours, but less than 12 hours, subscribers’ monthly rental fees would be reduced by 10 percent.

Users would see their monthly fees waived completely if service is interrupted for more than 72 hours.

In light of the increase in disputes on the speed of Internet connections, the amendment allows consumers to test-use mobile Internet services for up to seven days.

The CPC said customers would not be obliged to sign any contract until they were satisfied with the service, adding that each phone number could only be test-used once.

The current regulations only allows consumers to test-use the service for three days.

Should a consumer decide to terminate their service contract early, they would be asked to pay penalties based on the number of months left on their contract, rather than an unreasonably large sum, the CPC said.

The CPC said the telecoms carriers must calculate the penalties based on the fixed amount stated in the contract and deduct the related fees that consumers have already paid during the time they subscribe to the service. This means that the longer consumers use the service, the less they should pay in penalties for early termination of their contract.

The new amendments will be made public and they are scheduled to take effect before the Lunar New Year holidays, the CPC said.

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