Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has warned telecom companies providing fixed-line phones against charging subscribers separately for rectifying interruption in the service.
TRAI also termed the move as "anti-consumer." The customer does not choose the quality of material being used in the network by the company and is not responsible for the bad workmanship in the cable or wire. The customer has no say in determining the quality of the network elements, TRAI noted.
The directions come after Bharti Airtel sought TRAI's permission for levying separate charges for rectifying defects in network.
"As per the terms and conditions of the licence issued to the service providers, the responsibility for maintaining the performance and quality of service standards rests with the service providers and they must ensure an uninterrupted service with the quality standard prescribed by the TRAI."
"The terms and conditions of the licence impose an obligation to provide transmitting and receiving uninterrupted two-way speech and ensure continuity of service to its customers. The service providers are expected to maintain quality of service," the TRAI said.
Rectifying such interruptions are matters relating to service and its quality and customers cannot be charged for it, the regulator said.
"There is no justification for any such charges where the upkeep of the services is an integral part of the service itself. Such unjustified charges are detrimental to telecom consumers," it added.
The TRAI also criticised leading cellular service provider Bharti Airtel for proposing to charge extra for rectifying defects and asked the operator to refund any such money, taken from consumers.