TRAI seeks details from Independent TV on pending connection requests, refunds, resumption of service

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed direct to home (DTH) operator Independent TV to adhere to the provisions of the new regulatory framework and provide information about six key issues for the last six months within five days.

The TRAI has asked Independent TV to provide information about the connection requests that are pending beyond seven days after receipt of payments/subscription from the consumers.

The DTH operator has been asked to provide details about the complaints that are still pending regarding refund not provided. The authority has also sought information about the number of cases in which refund has been provided to the consumer due to non-provision of services despite collecting the money in advance. Independent TV has been asked to give the number of cases along with the amount refunded.

The TRAI has also directed the DTH operator to provide details if any channel has been removed from its platform without giving prior intimation to the consumer. The TRAI has also asked the DTH operator to provide information if the services have been resumed after the blackout issue.

The sixth and last issue is whether the DTH operator has provided any rebate has been provided to the affected subscribers during the blackout period and if yes, how much rebate has been provided.

Apart from seeking details about the above mentioned issues, the regulator has also directed the DTH operator to adhere to the various provisions of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 and Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017.

The authority noted that it had informed Independent TV via a letter dated 22nd February 2019 that it has been brought to its notice that the DTH operator is collecting money from the consumers and is delaying installation and activation of their connection. In some of the cases, where installation and activation are not carried out at all, the amount paid by the consumer remains pending and not refunded for a long period of time.

Independent TV through their letter dated 24th February 2019 informed that they have been addressing grievances of the consumers in a timely manner and refunding the advances to the customers who have been requesting such refund.

The authority, after analysing the response submitted by Independent TV, instructed it to ensure that the new regulations are followed in letter and spirit with no violation and that all the new connections booked are provided in a time-bound manner.

Independent TV through their letter dated 1st April 2019, has, inter-alia informed that there are no connection requests pending beyond seven days as on 31st March 2019.

The authority also stated that it is in receipt of numerous consumer complaints, wherein the subscribers have complained that Independent TV has discontinued channels opted for by the subscribers and that the operator is neither providing services to the consumers despite collecting the money in advance nor any refund has been made to the consumers.

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