The Commission for Communications Regulation of Ireland (“ComReg”) has issued notifications to three telecommunications providers for breaching the Universal Service Regulations 2011 (“USR”), breaches which may result in High Court orders against the providers.
The notifications were issued to Vodafone, Sky Ireland and Eir, all of whom included marketing material in correspondence sent to customers about changes to their contracts which is in breach of the USR.
2. Universal Service Regulations 2011
The USR explicitly provides that a minimum level of information should be included in correspondence to customers when telecommunications providers make changes to their contracts.
According to the USR, correspondence relating to a change in contract must:
- be in writing;
- begin with ‘contract change’ in upper-case letters;
- provide a clear statement of the consumer’s right to withdraw from the contract without penalty;
- provide the date that the changes will take effect;
- information in relation to contract changes must be presented in isolation from other content such as marketing material; and
- contract changes must be notified not less than one month in advance of proposed changes.
3. Response/ High Court
The telecommunications providers concerned have until 22 June 2017 to respond to ComReg. If ComReg deems the telecommunications providers’ explanations insufficient, the regulator can apply to the High Court for such order(s) as ComReg sees fit, which may include a declaration of non-compliance, an order directing compliance or an order directing the remedy for non-compliance or a fine.