Are Telecom operators cheating consumers with 28-day pre-paid plans ?

TRAI floats consultation paper on validity period of telecom tariff offers

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New Delhi:  “Are Telecom Service Providers (TDPs) cheating consumer by selling 28-day pre-paid plans instead of monthly plans?”

“While tariffs of postpaid services are fixed on a monthly basis, why it can’t be applicable for pre-paid services?”

These are broadly some of the issues the Telecom operator ‘TRAI’ is trying to resolve through consultation with various stakeholders after getting several complaints from consumers.

The regulator on Thursday floated a consultation paper on validity period of telecom tariff offers. Written comments and counter comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper are invited from the stakeholders by 11 June and 25 June respectively.

“The TRAI has been receiving a lot of references from consumers regarding the offering of tariff by telecom service providers (TSPs) for 28 days instead of a monthly offering. The consumers have stated in their complaints that not only the same causes confusion but also they feel cheated. It also results in hardships for them as they need to make 13 recharges of the monthly prepaid tariff offering considering the validity period offered as 28 days instead of a month” TRAI said in the paper.

“While TRAI observed that the TSPs have been transparently disclosing the validity period as 28 days etc. and have not made any attempt to market the same as monthly tariffs etc., still it is felt that considering the perspective of the consumer, it may be prudent to look into the issue from the aspect of consumer choice as well” it added.

While the telecom operators have argued that since the number of days in months is not same, it is difficult to sell monthly plans. However, TRAI has stated that these concerns of TSPs are misplaced as postpaid tariffs are fixed on monthly basis and TSPs in several western countries are also providing monthly plans.

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