Trai says cable operators to pay fine for denying bills

Trai says cable operators to pay fine for denying bills

A cable operator will have to pay a fine of Rs 20 per subscriber for not issuing bills and Rs 100 per subscriber for not giving pre or post-paid options to the customers.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) issued a notification in this regard on Wednesday, taking note of “numerous legitimate consumer grievances” that many cable television operators do follow the customer subscription norms prescribed by it.

It has given 60 day timeframe to the multi-service operators (MSOs) of the cable television network to “align their business processes” and ensure compliance with the Trai  regulations, else face the consequence.

The regulator has mandated levying of upto Rs 20 and Rs 100 per subscriber on the MSOs as “financial disincentives” for not issuing bills or receipts of subscription and not giving pre or post-paid options to the customers respectively.

“The financial disincentives to be levied on the multi-service operators (MSOs) for not complying with the regulations will go to the consolidated fund of India,” a senior Trai official told Deccan Herald.

The Trai has brought in suitable amendments to the Standards of Quality of Service (Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems) Regulations to give effect to the levying of financial disincentives on MSOs in case of their failure to comply with the norms.

The quality of service (QoS) regulations for digital addressable systems (DAS) have clear norms for the issue of bills to subscribers as well the issue of receipts for every payment made by subscribers.

The QoS regulation also prescribes that the cable television services shall be offered to the subscribers both on pre-paid and post paid payment models, with subscribers’ having option to choose from.

The Trai, however, observed that these norms were not being complied with by many MSOs.

“In the absence of a bill, a subscriber cannot ascertain whether the amount demanded by the MSO for the cable TV services is correct or not. Similarly, in the absence of a receipt for the payment made, there is no means to get a grievance redressed in case of any billing related dispute with the operators,” noted the regulator.

Because of the non delivery of such bills and receipts by the MSOs, information of actual subscription vis-a-vis billing and payment details were also not being entered into the subscriber management system (SMS).

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