Although, owning a mobile phone may have ceased to be a luxury in our country today, paying up for one is surely turning out to be an expensive affair with fatter bills, among other things. Add to that the misleading, or ambiguous tariff advertisements that one may come across, while looking up for the ‘best plan’. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), a rather vigilant body overlooking the affairs of the telecom sector in our country has looked into the matter and has now directed all telcos to keep all advertisements publicising mobile tariff plans transparent. Precisely that! The body, during its course of investigation in the matter found that telcos were increasingly indulging in less than accurate tariff advertising, which included practices like – “induce the consumer to subscribe to a tariff plan, which he would not have subscribed; contains an untrue statement; omits a material fact having bearing on the subscriber’s decision; and fails to disclose attached limitations and restrictions.

Hoping for better services (Image credit: Getty Images)

Transparent advertising for mobile tariffs! (Image credit: Getty Images)

Further in their directive, the TRAI have asserted that hereafter all mobile tariff advertisements issued by the telecom service providers should keep the advertisements – transparent, non-misleading and unambiguous. All telcos have been directed to present all details of the tariff plan unambiguously in the advertisement, and clearly include details like the website address and the customer care number of the particular mobile service provider, who is offering the plan. Further, an advertisement presented in a vernacular language should contain all the compulsory details mentioned in the same vernacular language. 

Service providers will now be required to compulsorily maintain an advertisement register, wherein they would have to keep a track of a specimen of every advertisement pertaining to tariffs and they will have to conduct internal audits to ensure that all norms are being adhered to. Telcos will also be required keep the TRAI at the heart of this process by submitting a compliance report to the body on a half yearly basis.

The TRAI has, in the recent times envisioned some sweeping changes in the telecom sector in the country. Be it ensuring the users of top-notch customer care services, by directing all telcos operating in the country to set-up a complaint number, which users would have access to readily from any service provider’s network, or the implementation of Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2012. Under the Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations, 2012, TRAI assured prepaid users that services doled out to them will be made more transparent, in terms of providing them with the details of their SMS and data usage, which they otherwise have no access to.

Have you ever come across a rather misleading tariff advertisement? What do you think about the new directives that TRAI has been actively implementing  in the telecom sector? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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