Comreg has been consulting on new billing proposals for bill (post) pay and pre pay customers for some time now and it has finally published it’s conclusions. The new regulations will come into effect between 2 and 6 months from their announcement date. The summary is below:
Measures for post-paid consumers:
- Service providers shall provide a bill to its post paid customers free of charge.
- Service Providers may not change the level of bill itemisation a post paid customer is currently receiving unless the explicit consent of the customer is obtained or unless a post paid customer has requested a bill that is more or less detailed than what is currently been received.
- Service providers shall provide the customer with the minimum details the consumer requires to be able to access and use the alternative billing medium offered, in advance of providing that billing medium to a consumer.
- A post paid customer may request, from their service provider, a bill that is more or less detailed (fully itemised bill or a non-itemised) than the level of itemisation currently being provided. In this case, the service providers must provide a fully itemised bill or a non-itemised bill free of charge.
- Service providers are entitled to issue alternative billing mediums to their customers if they can ensure and verify that the customer can access and use the alternative medium. If such verification cannot be obtained, service providers shall continue to issue a paper bill.
- Where the consumer cannot access the alternative billing medium, (for example because the consumer does not have broadband access or cannot use an on-line service) the service provider must allow the consumer to revert to paper billing free-of-charge.
- For an online bill, the service provider must alert their customer when the bill is available online. The alerts (especially if being sent by SMS) should be sent during appropriate (sociable) hours, and consumers who do not want to receive such alerts should have the option to opt-out of receiving them in accordance with Data Protection legislation. Alerts must be separate to any direct marketing messages that may be sent in accordance with Data Protection legislation.
For pre-paid consumers:
- If a pre-paid customer requests details of his/her transactions, (including usage and charges), from its Service Provider, the Service Provider shall provide, to the consumer, the transaction details free of charge.
For all consumers:
- Calls which are normally free-of-charge to all calling Consumers, are not to be identified by the Authorised Person in the calling Consumer’s transaction history or bill.