TRAI suggests making ‘itemized billing’ available to all customers; color-coding coupons

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested a new colour-coding scheme for recharge coupons as well as forcing telecom operators to offer “itemized billing” to prepaid customers as well.

According to the suggestions, made in two draft laws put up for consultation today, the TRAI has suggested that there should be only three types of recharge coupons so as not to confuse the consumer.

The three types of coupons will be — red coloured ‘plan coupons’ for changing the entire plan and validity of the customer; blue ‘top up’ coupon for increasing the ‘cash’ balance and green ‘special tariff’ vouchers for taking advantage of special offers such as cheap SMS.

In addition, it has been suggested to make it mandatory for all operators to offer “itemized billing” or “detailed billing” which shows exactly how their balance was used up. Such a bill, currently restricted to post-paid users, will show which numbers were dialed, how many SMSes were sent, which value added service is active etc..

The move is aimed at curbing consumer complaints about telecom operators deducting their balance even though the consumers claims not to have made many calls or SMSes.

TRAI has suggested a maximum of Rs 50 as fee for such a service.

In the second draft law, the TRAI has suggested making it mandatory for mobile operators to provide a web-based complaints-tracking system. Under this system, the customer can simply enter his or her complaint number given at the time of the lodging of the complaint and see what stage it is at.

The TRAI will wait till the end of the month to process the suggestions and feedback from the operators and consumer organizations, before making the draft into a proper law under the TRAI Act.

The move came on the same day when TRAI banned the “auto starting” of value added services by operators — a long-standing demand by consumers. [click to read]