Sunday, 29 May 2011

Consumer-friendly mobile phone contracts

As of 25th of May 2011 the new EU telecom rules had to be implemented by the Member States which means that consumers in Europe should have been by that date notified by their telephone service providers of changes in their services. What can you expect (and demand) as of this week?

1. If you decide to switch your mobile phone operator while keeping the same number, the switch has to happen within one working day! No more delays and inconveniences of your service being interrupted for up to a week, due to 'administrative' problems of mobile phone operators who claimed that they weren't able to facilitate a switch faster.

2. When you sign a contract with a mobile phone operator it cannot be for longer than 24 months, initially. If the consumer asks for it, the operator has to present an option for a 12 month contract. This allows consumers to use attractive offers given by mobile phone operators frequently.

3. Before you conclude a contract you need to receive a bunch of information on e.g. minimum service quality level that you may expect, as well as on compensation that you will receive if this level is not met. Other information concerns e.g. whether you want to (and will be) listed in telephone directories, promotional offers and their conditions that might apply to you, restrictions that might apply to your use of internet via your phone (e.g. bandwidth throttling), connection speeds, etc. This information has to be provided in a non-misleading way.

If there are any problems for consumers exercising their rights under the new telecom rules, they may contact the telecommunications regulatory authorities in their Member States. A list of such authorities has been given here.

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