TRA highlights Consumer Dispute Regulation

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has held a session on its Consumer Dispute Regulation for telecom operators in Bahrain to discuss the provisions of the regulation related to compliance and enforcement.

During the session, TRA stressed the importance of complying with the measures set forth in the regulation, and in the case of a failure by a telecoms operator to the provisions of the regulation, TRA may impose a number of fines which may reach to BD 50,000.

The purpose of this regulation is to establish the principles and procedures for the submission, handling and resolution of a Dispute arising between a Subscriber and a telecoms operator, in addition to improving the Complaint handling process by establishing basic high-level criteria for the handling of Complaints by Licensed Operators.

TRA's Senior Advisor of Consumer Affairs Development, Shaikh Abdullah bin Humood Al Khalifa said: "This regulation is an integral part of the previous regulations on consumer protection, where it came following a number of studies on best practices of dispute handling mechanisms, taking into consideration the role, rights and duties of subscribers and telecom operators with TRA."

"TRA published a public consultation on the regulation aiming at reviewing and receiving feedback from all stakeholders, in particular consumers and consumer groups prior to the adoption of the regulation to ensure transparency and participation in decision-making." Shaikh Abdullah added.

The regulation consists of several chapters that apply to all subscribers, including submission procedure and content of a request for dispute resolution, acceptance of a dispute, dispute resolution procedures, resolution by settlement, issuance of decisions, in addition to subscriber rights and guarantees as well as a number of general provisions related to compliance and enforcement.

The regulation highlights the fact that subscribers no longer have to wait 60 days to submit a dispute to TRA. Instead, they can submit a dispute after the exhaustion of the telecoms operator's procedures for dealing with complaints in accordance with the Code of Practice, which can be found on telecom operators websites. The Code of Practice sets out the minimum number of days that the subscriber has to wait per category of complaint before being able to submit a dispute.

The regulation entitles the relevant stakeholders to determine and resolve disputes through mediation, settlement and issue of decision. The regulation shall guarantee the right of the subscriber to request to restore the disputed telecommunications service during the submission procedure of the dispute request. In order to promote the principle of transparency and competitiveness for the public interest. The regulation includes a number of provisions related to the publication of statistics by TRA of the telecom operators' performance in respect of the resolution of complaints and disputes. This is one of the new rights covered by the regulation to ensure that all rights of subscribers are protected in respect of disputes arising between them and the telecom operators.

TRA urged all subscribers who have unresolved complaints during the above period, or have not reached a satisfactory solution with their telecoms operator or have comments on telecoms services, to communicate with TRA through its website www.tra.org.bh, contact the Consumer Call Center: 81188 or submit a written request to consumer@tra.org.bh.

TRA's website also includes more information on the content and attachments of dispute settlement request or the scope of acceptance or rejection insights.

Source: Bahrain News Agency