Address consumer complaints within 8 hrs: TRAI

15 May,2012

By A Correspondent


The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued the Regulations on the Quality of Service and Consumer Complaint Redressal Mechanism for the Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems (DAS) on May 14.


Under the new order, every multi-system operator (MSO) or his linked local cable operator (LCO) will have to establish a complaint centre in his service area, for redressal of complaints and for addressing service requests of his consumers before providing the digital addressable cable TV services.


Every complaint centre will be accessible to the consumers from 8am in the morning to midnight on all days of the week. The complaint centre will have facilities for the local language of the area in addition to Hindi and English. Every MSO or his linked LCO will deploy sufficient number of employees at his complaint centre to meet the Quality of Service (QoS) parameters, as may be specified by the Authority from time to time.


The MSO or linked LCO will have to ensure that the complaints centre is accessible and has a toll-free number which will be widely publicized. In the new regulations, TRAI has also issued details of how an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) should function, and how consumers should be made aware of the existence of the centre.


Every MSO or linked LCO will have to establish a web-based complaint monitoring system to enable the consumers to monitor the status of their complaints. Every MSO or his linked LCO will also have to designate a one or more nodal officers in every state in which it is providing its services. In case the consumer is not satisfied with the redressal of his complaints through Complaints Centre, he can approach the nodal officer of the operator.


MSOs or their linked LCOs have to publish a consumer’s charter for DAS providing all necessary details with respect to the services being provided by them.


Under the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations, a standard application form will be devised giving all details to be used for providing services such as connection, disconnection, shifting and return of set top box (STB).


The consumer will have to be given a prior notice of a minimum of 15 days for disconnection of services. Similarly, the consumer will have to give a prior notice of minimum 15 days for making a request for disconnection.


No charges other than rentals for STB will be charged in case the connection is suspended on the request of the consumer for a period of minimum one month to maximum three months.


Operators will publish a manual of practice and provide it to the consumer at the time of enrolment. The manual of practice, apart from Hindi and English, should be in the language of the state where the cable services are provided.


Every MSO will offer cable TV services on both pre-paid and post-paid payment options to the subscriber and will be responsible for generation of bills for the subscribers. It will be open to the subscriber to choose either the pre-paid or post-paid option.


Operators will have to offer three schemes for STBs to the consumers, and these are outright purchase, hire purchase and rental. Operators will have to provide a minimum warranty of one year for STBs acquired by the consumer under outright purchase scheme.


The security deposit of the STBs has to be refunded within seven days of surrender of the STB by the consumer.


All MSOs and cable TV operators will conduct public awareness campaign about the salient provisions of these regulations.


Meanwhile, TRAI has issued amendments to the Interconnection Regulations issued on April 30 under which the MSOs have been barred from charging any placement fee from broadcasters.


Giving in to a collective demand of broadcasters, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has barred Multi System Operators from charging a placement fee from channels in lieu of placing them in select slots.


TRAI has issued amendments to the Interconnection Regulations which were earlier issued on April 30. The interconnection regulations are applicable to all digital addressable cable TV systems (DAS).


As per the amendments, TRAI states, “Multi System Operators are not to demand any placement fee from broadcaster.” In a move to make the system more transparent, TRAI has specified, “Tthe Reference Interconnect Offer of a multi-system operator submitted to the Authority to contain the basis on which the carriage fee payable by the broadcaster has been determined.”


TRAI also mandates every MSO to display in his Electronic Programme Guide, all the channels offered by him, in the same genre in which a particular channel has been indicated by the broadcaster and one channel shall appear in only one genre.


Under the new regulations, broadcasters will also have to declare the genre of their channels which may be either News and Current Affairs or Infotainment or Sports or Kids or Music or Lifestyle or Movies or religious/Devotional pr General Entertainment (Hindi) or General Entertainment (English) or General Entertainment (regional language).


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