in Consumer Law
Asked January 23, 2016

right of waiver

  • 1 Answer

Can I claim waiver if my ISP doesn't provide 24x7 service?

Answer 1

Default avatar
Apoorv Pandey
Broadband and internet related facilities availed by people form respective companies form an integral part of their daily routine. It is a frequent spectacle that the services rendered by these companies fall short of what they promise in their brochure. These deficiency can range from anywhere between failure of network to supply of defective instruments. The mental agony caused by such deficiencies in service is always inconvenient for the customers. Hence, the customers often end up paying a bill despite not utilizing much of the services. Under such circumstances it is crucial to understand that how waiver related disputes are best resolved. Legal and technical aspects surrounding waiver TRAI has made it mandatory for service providers to submit the Performance Monitoring Reports on the QoS benchmarks for all the parameters.[1] It has also provided for Customer Perception of Service where broadband service is measured through customer survey conducted by the Authority.[2] All in all the crux of the matter is that the consumer related legal regime is sufficiently friendly in India. TRAI has also come up with Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, 2012.[3] Service providers are also obligated to install a web monitoring system.[4] This helps the customers to view their complaints and its status online. When a consumer places a complaint the consumer complaint center are required to allot a unique number to be called the docket number.[5] Since these dockets are maintained on record for three months[6], consumers have plenty of time to generate hard copies. Service providers are further obligated to make SMS confirmation to the consumers.[7] Consumers can use this monitoring system as important tool of evidence while negotiating waiver.   How to make an effective waiver claim Claiming waiver in your broadband bill essentially depends upon three factors. These three factors are instant complaint, keeping track of time and dates and lastly the company policies of the broadband which you are enjoying.[8]  It is of utmost importance to make timely complaints of matter as any late complaint attracts suspicion of evasion of monthly bills. It is a very common mistake among broadband users to tolerate such kind of inconveniences. As a result this issue is never taken up till the broadband companies call up customers via their customer care cell to inquire into cases of non-payment of over dues. It is highly recommended that the consumers should be vigilant about protecting their consumer rights by registering complaint because when a customer calls to the customer care cell of the broadband company, their complaint gets registered and a background data regarding such complaint is maintained by the company for future references. Same is registered in web monitoring system of the company as well.[9] If there are multiple instances of deficient services, the same is reflected in their data. The service provider relies on this data to ascertain the authenticity of customer grievances. Secondly it is important to read the terms and conditions that are present in the documents forwarded by the service provider and understand them. The instructions written in small font sized letters often determine the nature and quality of services that you might be enjoying with the service provider. These terms and conditions can be used as a tool to negotiate the waiver, asking the service provider to stay intact on his promise of providing good service. For example BSNL in its terms and condition states that it shall upgrade its network capacity, bandwidth, speed & add new nodes & reconfigure its network as per need.[10] So customers can claim waiver if up gradation was delayed. While trying to claim a waiver from customer care representative of the broadband company, it is important to inform them about all the above mentioned factors. When they find out that the customer has maintained a record of all the inconveniences suffered by him and he is also aware of the company policies as well as his consumer rights, then the company finds itself more obligated to grant the requisite waiver. Settling waiver related disputes It is always more advisable to settle the waiver disputes over a phone call with the customer care of your service provider. However if the bill imposed by the service provider is grossly unreasonable and unjustified and there are continuous threats of lawsuit if the same is not paid, it would be advisable for the person to file a consumer complaint before the district consumer forum for the redressal of the same. Consumers can plead deficiency of service in such kind of cases. Section 2(f) of the Consumer Protection Act provides for a wide definition of deficiency.[11]  It is an easy and effective process to get appropriate remedy. It is also an economical process as it does not require the consumer to engage a lawyer.[12] Further the court fee being hundred Rupees per 1 lakh Rupees claim makes it a more viable option.[13] To conclude, it would be advisable for the consumer to follow up the customer care cell of the respective service provider in case of deficient service. As per the regulations laid down by TRAI, consumers are entitled to waiver in case of deficient services. Since your service provider has failed to provide 24x7 services, your waiver claim has good merits. The amount of waiver can be negotiated as per the inconvenience caused. [1] Regulation 4 of Quality of Service of Broadband Service Regulations, 2006 [2] Regulation 7 of Quality of Service of Broadband Service Regulations, 2006 [3] Vide Notification No. 305-20/2009-QoS dated 5th January 2012 [4] Regulation 6 of Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, 2012 [5] Regulation 7 of Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, 2012 [6] Regulation 7(2) of Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, 2012 [7] Regulation 7(3) of Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, 2012 [8] Data acquired from Customer Care Representative of Tikona Digital Networks (Broadband Services) [9] Regulation 6 of Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, 2012 [10] See http://www.calcutta.bsnl.co.in/forms/BB_Terms_Conditions.pdf as visited on 17/02/2016 [11] Section 2(f) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 [12] Consumers can present their own case or appoint an Agent. [13] Rule 9A of  The Consumer Protection Rules, 1987 also See http://www.consumercourt.in/address/12640-consumer-court-fee.html as visited on 08/02/2016
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