Introduction
Transparency and information
Subscription agreements
Payment for service
Service interruptions and terminations
Comment


Introduction

The procedures and principles for protecting consumer rights and interests in the telecoms sector are regulated by the Regulation regarding the Rights of Consumers in the Electronic Communication Sector. However, as a result of new needs arising from recent changes to consumer rights legislation and developments in this sector, such procedures and principles require amendment. The Information Technologies and Communication Authority (ICTA) has thus published the Draft Regulation on Amending the Regulation regarding the Rights of Consumers in the Electronic Communication Sector (the draft regulation)

The draft regulation adds new obligations for operators and new rights for "subscribers", which are defined as real or legal persons who are party to a contract made with an operator for the provision of telecoms services. This article discusses the amendments brought in by the draft regulation.

Transparency and information

Under the obligation of transparency and information, the operator will be obliged to ensure that the subscriber can easily access traffic management actions that affect its service. In addition, those who want to benefit from telecoms services will be able to compare operator offers over the e-government system. If a call is made that may be charged differently to the tariff to which the subscriber has registered, a free message about the fee and the scope of the service must be sent. The subscriber may forward to the operator a request to stop sending such messages.

Subscription agreements

Contracts relating to subscription agreements must be established in writing or electronically, in compliance with the Regulation on Identity Verification. Both the originals and copies of identity documents or equivalent documents for the establishment of a subscription agreement will be requested. The copies will be transferred to the operator's information systems in such a way that they are permanently recorded in connection with the date and time of the agreement and the transaction performed.

The operator must also present a clear summary of the contract to the consumer as a separate document before the contract is concluded. It must obtain the subscriber's approval of this summary. The operator will send a physical or electronic copy of the contract summary to the consumer.

Payment for service

The draft regulation states that the charging of the service will begin with the delivery of the service to the subscriber. In addition, it is essential that the subscriber's lines are closed to international roaming services, and that their lines can access such services only with a provable declaration of the subscribers.

The following details must be made available to the subscriber:

  • the validity period of the contract;
  • the service and device characteristics subject to the contract;
  • the monthly price of the tariff without a contract;
  • the discounted monthly price;
  • the price of the device and the monthly device fee;
  • all other amounts that may be subject to a withdrawal fee; and
  • how the fees to be paid by a subscriber if the commitment is terminated before the deadline will be calculated.

The contract period between the operator and the subscriber cannot exceed 24 months. Proposals for a new contract can be submitted up to 40 days prior to the expiry date of the existing contract.

Service interruptions and terminations

The operator must perform the service without interruptions, except in force majeure events. Otherwise, the situations in which the service may be limited or stopped are regulated. In a reasonable time before the service is restricted or stopped, subscribers must be informed via text message, call or voice response system.

If the service is stopped because the invoice was not paid on the due date, no service fee may be charged to the subscriber, excluding the device fee and radio usage/licence fee, as of the date the service is stopped. After the payment is made, the service must continue within 24 hours. In the event that the service is stopped, the contract can be terminated after a minimum of three months after the suspension, unless otherwise requested by the subscriber.

However, it is expressly stated that it must always be possible to terminate subscription agreements free of charge, except for contracted subscriptions. After the termination, the operator will be able to send an invoice to subscribers for any outstanding payments within two months of the date that the subscriber requested the termination of the services.

Comment

The process of receiving public opinions on the draft regulation is complete. ICTA is continuing in its work to finalise it.

For further information on this topic please contact Hatice Ekici Tağa, Sümeyye Uçar or Bensu Özdemir at Özdağıstanli Ekici Attorney Partnership by telephone (+90 216 230 07 48) or email ([email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The Özdağıstanli Ekici Attorney Partnership website can be accessed at www.ozdagistanliekici.com/.