- By Azeez Nazar Sabri
You may face mental agony and pain if when you are travelling abroad and your International roaming facility is not activated by your mobile company. This is not a problem of individual, many people face similar problem. Lots of complaints have been made to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) by the customers who had availed the services of Indian mobile companies for International Roaming but the International Roaming was not activated by the service provider. In view of the complaints made by the Customers TRAI issued notices to the mobile operators and on 14th June, 2017 and issued additional recommendation on “ Sale/ Rent of International Roaming SIM Card/ Global Calling Cards of foreign operators in India”.
TRAI recommended that in case of the customer reports non activation of service, no usage of the card for reasons beyond the control of the customer like poor network coverage, in compatibility of handsets etc. the service provided, in cases of Prepaid Card customer would refund the entire amount paid by the customer to the services provider. In addition, service provider should pay a penalty of Rs. 5,000/- (Rupees Five Thousand) to the customer as compensation for the inconvenience and incidental charges.
In case of the post- paid card customer also the service provider shall pay the similar penalty of Rs. 5,000/-(Rupees Five Thousand). In both the cases, the remittance of penalty and refund as applicable shall be completed within 15 days of customer’s return and reporting of non -usage by the Customer.
Thus the penalty is payable in both Pre-Paid and Post Paid cases.
TRAI has further recommended that if is found that there are complaints of non- working of cards are more than 10% of the total numbers of card sold monthly by the service provider, and then NOC of the service provider can be cancelled.
It was also recommended by the TRAI that purchase of global calling cards and International cards be done through digital mode only that is net banking, credit or debit cards and e-wallets.
Apart from this, there is also one more remedy available to the customer under Consumer Protection Act, 1986. You can file a consumer complaint for deficiency in service. In section 2(1(g) consumer Protect act, 1986 deficiency of service has been defines as “deficiency means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintain by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service”.
Hence the non- activation of International roaming comes within the periphery of the “deficient service”. In one of the landmark judgment, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission of Maharashtra in the matter of Vodafone Essar Cellular Ltd. Vs Sanjay Surya Prakash Naidu had upheld the decision of District Consumer whereby District Forum had awarded compensation of Rs. 5,000/- towards mental torture and agony and Rs. 1,500/- towards litigation cost to the complaint for non -activation of International Roaming while charging for the same.
In view of the above, two fold remedies are available to the Customer who faces non- activation of International roaming. One is as per the TRAI recommendation and second is under Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
( Author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)