Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) has penalized the telecom operator Ncell for the operation of unauthorized VAS (Value added services) and offers. A total of 10.5 lakhs has been decided to charge the telco for providing such services and offers without permission.
NTA board decided to take a fine of Rs 500,000 from the telco for the unauthorized VAS service. Similarly, the regulator decided to charge Rs 500,000 for providing offers without taking consent from them. Whereas an additional Rs 50,000 penalty is for the auto-renewal of the VAS services. The board took the decision as per the provision in Article 47 of the Telecommunication Act 1997.
Here is the provision in the Doorsanchar Yen (Telecommunication Act 2053):
If any person/entity operates the Telecommunications Service without obtaining the Licence pursuant to this Act or operates the Telecommunications Service without complying with the terms and conditions mentioned on the Licence, the Authority may award a fine up to Five Lakhs Rupees to such person/entity and may also cause to stop such act.
Recently, there are a lot of complaints regarding the auto-renewal of value-added services. As known, the operator had been running services like “Love Detector”, “Magic Voice” from two years’ time without any notice of the regulator. In addition to not taking permission, the telco also charged people automatically in all these two years.
The telco used to say that clicking online banners can also enable the subscription of such services. They allege people to have clicked such web banners and approve for several rules without even reading. They claim to have clearly stated the automatic renewal during the subscription. But since the service itself is not authorized, there is no space to buy Ncell’s words.
The promotional offers that Ncell launched without consent of NTA are Holi offers, Valentine’s Day offer, and Mahashivratri offer. THT reports that despite the probe started 2 years ago, NTA could decide on the matter now.
NTA confirms the penalty decision for the company as they operated services without approval. As known, the regulator also directed the company to resolve the auto-renewal issues for some services.
Recently there was a complaint of a normal bar phone user to have charged for such value-added service automatically. Techpana first reported the incident with the application of charges Rs 38.31, Rs 12.77, and Rs 15.32 to the customer. Those amounts were for the subscription of services Music Meter content, Video plus content, and Huawei Games content respectively. The company resolved the issue by refunding an amount of Rs 520.
There may be lakhs of customers who are falling prey to such services with automatic activation. So, the regulator needs to be more strict in probing such incidents and taking further actions. Sometime it could also be due to the customer’s ignorance for clicking anything over the web. For which the customers also need to be aware for such services and check their balance if there are any hidden charges and services being activated automatically.
Have you fallen prey to those auto-renewal services of the telcos? What have you done to be aware of such services as clicking on websites may also result in the subscription? Feedback in the comment below.