Action taken by TRAI to make mobile service providers restore making helpline numbers toll free - CIC: details of service providers who provide toll free numbers & those who do not do so should be provided; matter needs consideration at higher levels TRAI
Please provide complete information on under mentioned aspects together with related documents/corrdspondence/file notings etc also relating to my submission anti-consumer policies of Mobile-Phone Service-provider (Airtel) dated 03/02/2013 and ‘Airtel Executive (Rohit) harassing after lodging complaint with TRAI dated 22/02/2013 e mailed to various officers at TRAI, at least one of them acknowledged by TRAI vide letter dated 08/02/2013:
1- Complete information on each aspect of my submission Anti consumer policies of mobile phone service provider (Airtel) dated 03/02/2013 and “airtel executive (Rohit) harassing after lodging complaint with TRAI dated 22/02/2013 also emailed to TRAI by TRAI and/or authorities where these submission might have been forwarded.
2- Complete information on action taken by TRAI to make it compulsory for mobile service providers continuing sending paper bills till subscriber confirms in writing to discontinue sending paper-bills also to prevent incident faced by subscriber like mentioned in my enclosed submissions.
3- Complete information on action taken by TRAI to make it compulsory for mobile phone service provider to provide details of incoming, missed and outgoing calls to demanding subscribers without forcing them to lodge prior police complaints/FIRs etc in name of privacy also to prevent mobile service providers minting money by denying such details as also explained in detail in my enclosed submissions. 4- Complete information on action taken by TRAI to make mobile service providers restore making helpline numbers toll free for reasons detailed in my submissions.
5- Copies of complete audio tapes at Airtel made at my mobile number/s and/or landline numbers in respect of my complaints referred in my submission mentioning also name of Airtel Executive having called with dates and time of such call being made.
6- Copies of all email correspondence together with internal notings at Airtel in regard to complaints made against Airtel and/or its executives as referred in my submissions.
7- Complete information together with related correspondence/file notings etc on action taken against Airtel Executive Rohit for harassing me and/or my staffers/brother etc through calls made at out mobile and/or landline numbers mentioning also if some police complaint was made against said Rohit of Airtel. 8- Complete information on action taken to cancel license of Airtel for massive anti subscribers tactics also aimed to mint money like also referred in submission.
9- Any other related information.
10-File notings on movement of this RTI petition.
Grounds for the Second Appeal: TRAI has to provide point-wise information on each of the queries of my RTI petition under section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of RTI act which provides ‘Information’ to include information relating to any private body (Airtel) which can be accessed by a public authority (TRAI) under any other law for the time being in force. I filed my first appeal (modified) dated 08/04/2013 which was not responded. I appeal that TRAI may kindly be directed to respond to my queries point-wise. The queries which are not related to TRAI, may kindly be directed to be transferred under section 6(3) of RTI to concerned public-authority, may be the one handling TCCMS. All sought and related documents are now to be provided free-of-cost under section 7(6) of RTI Act. Penalty- proceedings under RTI Act may kindly be initiated apart from providing compensation under section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; of RTI Act. It is prayed accordingly.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The appellant stated that he is not pressing his complaint issue which has been resolved by the active intervention of the respondent but in queries 2, 3 & 4 he has raised issues of larger public importance and the respondent need to provide him the information (other than that relating to his complaint). He further stated that subscribers feel harassed as service providers do not give much attention to complaints and generally grievances remain unresolved. The CPIO stated that the issue under query 2 is already in place under the TTO wherein it has been specified that each service provider is required to provide hard copy of bills to post paid customers free of charge. As regards query 3 & 4 he stated that these are policy matters which require wider consultations with the stake holders. The appellant pointed in both queries 3 & 4 he has raised issues of general public importance and a recommendation should be given by the Commission under Section 25(5) of the RTI Act. The respondent contested stating that under query 3 providing details of incoming & missed calls may not be feasible for implementation as the number of subscriber is very large and even if a fraction of them call for the details it will involve humongous work. The appellant suggested that if this be the case the service provider may levy reasonable charges for providing the information. The appellant whole heartedly thanked the TRAI and the service provider for immediately resolving his personal problem.
After hearing submissions of both the parties the Commission is of the view that the TRAI may include the appellant’s suggestion as contained in query 3 in the next consultation process with the stake holders and as far as possible give intimation of the same to him. As regards the suggestion contained under query 4 the respondents themselves have admitted that some service providers are providing toll free help lines for recoding grievances and the details of service providers who provide toll free numbers and those who do not do so should be communicated to the appellant within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order. Before parting with this matter we would like to observe that the issue of providing toll free helpline number is important from larger public perspective, particularly as telecom service provider are not required to incur any airtime costs whereas many companies engaged in providing public services have toll free helpline numbers for which they have to incur airtime costs. The matter, therefore, needs serious consideration at higher levels in the TRAI. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Subhash Chandra Agrawal v. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in File No. CIC/BS/A/2013/001383/5596