The General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications Sector (TRA) has recently made a set of changes to the Consumer Protection Regulations with a view to strengthening and improving consumer satisfaction, and reducing the number of complaints. The amendments made by the TRA to compel the licensees to provide a summary of terms and conditions covering various aspects concerning the applicable fees, payments, discounts, their durations, and other benefits bundled in the provided product or service as well as early termination fees, if any.
The amendments approved by the new CPR include, inter alia, requiring the licensees to maintain a record of the consumer consent to the provisions of the contract in the event of a dispute about the existence or non-existence of the consent, and to provide evidence proving that the consent was obtained properly. In the absence of such evidence, the TRA presumes that the relevant Licensee did not obtain the Consumer consent. A new article was also incorporated requiring licensees to increase monitoring and controlling third-party apps and services (e.g. game apps, tones, or content provided by a third party partner to the licensee) and that is done by obligating these partners to comply with requirements for activating and deactivating their products and services.
These amendments come under TRA’s periodic review of the laws and regulations governing the operation of the telecommunications sector in the UAE, which reflect the serious commitment of the TRA to realize its mission, and its primary role aimed at protecting the interests of consumers in the UAE within the general framework of excellence and continuous improvement applicable in the TRA. The continuous modernization of all aspects of the telecommunications sector whether at the level of infrastructure or mechanisms governing this sector falls within the framework of the vision of UAE’s leadership aimed at strengthening the presence of the UAE on the global competitiveness indicators and shortening the time required to achieve targets at the national level.
The TRA emphasized that these amendments will have a positive impact on promoting the role of the telecommunications sector and its continued provision of value-added services to consumers. The TRA has, out of its keenness on reinforcing the principle of transparency and commitment to its procedures followed in this area, consulted licensees over the past year with respect to the amendments covered in the new regulation, where both operators had presented their observations in this regard to the TRA.
Version 1.3 of the CPR was approved by the TRA’s Board of Directors on 3rd January 2017, and stipulated in one of its clauses that all communications as well as terms and conditions should be written in Arabic or English as selected by the consumer. It also includes an emphasis on not allowing the consumer to purchase any product, service, game, tone, etc. supplied by a Partner by a single-click process. Partners also shall provide a simple opt-out mechanism so that subscribers can easily cancel any purchase and avoid further recurring charges for that purchase. The new version obligates licensees to take reasonable measures to create awareness of the consumer’s right to receive invoices in paper form.
To view details about the regulation, please visit TRA website www.tra.gov.ae