The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued revised regulatory framework for audit of the metering and billing system of service providers.
Service providers should get their metering and billing system audited annually for basic and cellular mobile telephone service in each service area through any one of the auditor from the TRAI-notified panel, as per the `Quality of Service (Code of Practice for Metering and Billing Accuracy) (Amendment) Regulations, 2013', issued today.
Service providers should conduct quarterly audit of monthly call data records of sample subscribers from most popular plans, new plans, data plans and Special Tariff Vouchers, so that the audit is representative of the whole year and also to facilitate timely refund of overcharged amounts.
They should submit audit report and action taken report to TRAI by 31 July and 15 November, respectively, every year.
TRAI has prescribed financial disincentive at the rate of Rs1,00,000 per week for delay in submission of audit reports and action taken reports by the service providers.
Financial disincentive not exceeding Rs10,00,000 will be charged for failure to submit action taken report or false or incomplete information provided in the report.
In all cases of overcharging established during audit, service providers should refund the affected customers the overcharged amounts within two months, failing which the service provider would be liable for financial disincentive equivalent to the amount of overcharged amount.
Auditors should submit monthly progress report to TRAI on refund of overcharged amounts to affected customers, in addition to submission of report on progress of audit at periodic intervals.
TRAI said the amendments to the regulations are intended to set a code of practice for metering and billing accuracy, prescribing standards for metering and billing, which every access service provider has to comply, so as to minimise the incidences of billing complaints and for protecting the interest of consumers.