The regulatory Nepal Telecommunications Authority has so far taken major action in the telecommunications sector. Value-added services like Gameloft, Huawei App Galleries without customer approval The NEA has decided to pay Rs 1.11 billion as compensation to the private sector telecom service provider Ncell saying that it has taken money from the customer by renewing (auto renew) itself.
NEA Chairman Purushottam Khanal informed that the decision was taken at the NEA board meeting held on July 13. He said, “Automatic renewal of such apps has been found to have a problem of losing balance without the knowledge of the user.”
The company will have to return the compensation specified by NEA to Ncell to the concerned customer on their mobile. As per the decision, Ncell will have to return the compensation to the customer within three months. NEA has also directed Ncell to provide details of the refunded amount on a monthly basis.
The NEA has also directed to set up a separate fund for the refund in case the service of a customer is stopped or the customer cannot be identified due to any other reason.
The NEA had started the study by forming an inspection and investigation team based on the complaint of Ncell users that their balance was declining from their mobiles. According to NEA, the study of the team found that Ncell had earned Rs. 11 crore 37 lakhs.
The team found that Ncell operated the pack for three days and renewed itself on a weekly basis. Similarly, the company has earned Rs 999.2 million in the name of Huawei App Gallery in the same period, according to NEA. This app is also updated daily, three days and weekly by Ncell.
Based on the findings of the study, NEA had asked Ncell for clarification on the operation of the VAS service on July 3, but Ncell had informed that such service was provided by a third party and only the balance in the mobile was used for its purchase.
The company also mentioned in the explanation that there is no automatic renewal system in the operation of VAS service, the customer’s prior notice is taken and only the customer who approves the service at one time has been renewed due to the inconvenience of the customer.
However, NEA’s study has shown that when renewing such service, it did not send SMS for customer’s permission, instead of sending a clear message of service renewal, it sent it in a confusing negative way and if the customer did not understand or react.
Besides, the same meeting also fined Ncell an additional Similarly, NEA has instructed Ncell to submit the income earned through these two VAS services within 15 days. Similarly, NEA has instructed to operate the service only as per the procedure of purchasing goods and services through electronic means.
The NEA has also instructed to stop these services within seven days and inform the NEA and return the money of all the customers to their mobile phones before stopping such services. Compensation may increase further.
NEA is continuing its study and research as Ncell has renewed the service without the permission of the customer by operating a total of 48 different types of VAS services. At present, only two VAS services have been compensated, but the remaining VAS services are also being investigated, said Chairman Khanal. According to preliminary estimates, the compensation for automatic renewal could increase by an additional Rs 4 billion.
In Short: NTA has given directions to Ncell to return around NRs 1.11 Arba to the customers within 3 months that was collected from the users in the name of Auto – Renewing different services and packages from Ashoj 15, 2075 to Jestha 18, 2077.