Thu, May 02, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Telecom firms asked to limit data roaming charges

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Telecom carriers must provide clear information to customers about international data roaming services and give warnings when customers are close to reaching preset spending limits, the National Communications Commission said yesterday.

Officials from the commission and from the Consumer Protection Committee met with telecom carriers earlier this month to address an increase in consumer disputes over international data roaming services, with a growing number of smartphone users reporting “bill shock” after accessing the Internet while abroad.

Liang Wen-hsing (梁溫馨), a specialist at the commission’s operational management department, said the companies had agreed to implement three measures to reduce consumer disputes and protect their customers.

He said that telecom carriers should establish an alerts system to inform customers when they are close to running out of credit.

“It is generally assumed that the upper credit limit for customers should be set at NT$5,000. However, that amount can vary based on customers’ preferences,” Liang said.

If the amount spent on international data services reaches this figure, then the service should be suspended automatically unless a customer indicates they wish to continue using the service.

Carriers should also send notifications to customers when 70 percent of their credit has been used, he added.

Liang said that carriers must also switch off international roaming when customers return to Taiwan and would have to waive additional charges if they failed to do so.

When a customer arrives in another country, Liang said, Taiwanese telecom firms should ensure that customers are connected to the local networks offering the best rates by default, adding that they must relay to customers the conditions under which the service is offered and offer them the chance to accept or reject the service.

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