Comreg, the Irish Communications regulator, is putting together proposals for new consumer protection measures in respect of consumer bills and billing mediums. They’re seeking responses to this consultation which must be received by 4.00 pm on Friday 2 December 2011. A summary of the proposals are below but the full document can be found here.

 

 

1. The service provider must provide consumers of post-paid services with an itemised bill, free-of-charge, unless the customer has requested not to receive anitemised bill (as provided for in the e-Privacy Regulations 10).

2. The service provider must provide consumers of post-paid services with bills in paper medium, free-of-charge, unless the service provider is reasonably assured that the consumer has actual access to, and can use, an alternative billing medium.

3. If a consumer informs their service provider that they cannot access or use the alternative billing medium, the service provider must provide the consumer with a paper bill, free-of-charge.

4. Service providers must alert their customers whose bill is provided online, that the bill is available.

5. Service providers must provide consumers with disabilities with an itemised bill, free-of-charge, in a billing medium that they can access, if they so request.

6. With respect to pre-paid consumers, their service provider must provide them, free-of-charge, with an adequate facility to verify their charges, if they so request.

7. Calls that are normally free-of-charge, including calls to free-phone numbers, must not be included on an itemised bill.

 

Most of these proposals are already implemented but many networks provide no clear information on how pre pay users have been charged so point 6 should see some good changes (if implemented) for those customers. The emphasis on the rights of the consumer to a free paper bill is being proposed following a number of networks who had tried to arbitrarily switch customers to online billing only, being rapped on the knuckles for doing so by comreg:

O2: http://www.comreg.ie/_fileupload/publications/ComReg1095.pdf

Vodafone: http://www.comreg.ie/_fileupload/publications/ComReg1176.pdf

What do you think of comregs proposed changes? Would you like to see more? Do they go far enough? Let us know in the comments section below. Remember the deadline for submissions to comreg is 4.00 pm on Friday 2 December 2011.