Customers reel under forced VAS by telcos

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Hyderabad: In the identify of Value Added Services (VAS) like ringtones, messages and chatting, a number of presents are getting activated for patrons of Airtel, BSNL, Vodafone and different Telecom providers with out the consent of the person.

Even stopping such providers is tough. The person receives a message saying {that a} specific service has been activated and that Rs 10 a day, Rs 25 or Rs three was charged to cellphone steadiness. It additionally says “to stop the service dial 155223”. But when a person does that, he/she is bombarded with a number of different choices making it much more tough to cease a easy service. You then get a message saying VAS service shouldn’t be activated, or get one other choice to press a quantity (like 1 or 2) and that too fails to cease the service.

 

Nearly all Telecom operators resort to unscrupulous methods of activating VAS and making subscribers pay further. They typically attempt to flash VAS presents due to which many purchasers with out noticing are giving express consent.

G Naresh, a techie, says, “My father told me that his prepaid mobile balance keeps diminishing even though he did not use SMS or call frequently on his BSNL phone. We realised that he had subscribed to some odd friendship message service that was eating up all his balance. He wasn’t aware of it and unsubscribing from it took a long time and there was hardly any refund.”

Airtel subscriber Okay. Vara Lakshmi had the same expertise: “I don’t know how a caller tune was activated and only after balance was cut did I realise that it was activated. I never got any refund for the ringtone which I did not activate.”

Telecom operators can’t add these VAS providers with out the client’s information, and consent is crucial. They have discovered a means across the consent requirement by getting subscribers to comply with the VAS service with out them understanding they’re doing so. According to a BSNL customer support centre, “Customers, often senior citizens, visit the centre every day asking to deactivate VAS services. This is because the services come as a flash text, and unknowingly most of them accept it without paying keen attention.”

Telecom regulator is reportedly engaged on an app which is able to handle complaints about VAS.

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