Telecom providers must better inform customers about contract changes

Telecom watchdog Authority for Consumers & Markets is tightening its supervision on telecom providers that implement contract changes. According to the ACM, telecom companies do not always inform their customers properly. During holiday periods, they must inform customers earlier than a month in advance.

The ACM says it regularly receives complaints from consumers and companies about poor information on contract changes by telecom providers. The opt-out in particular would lead to problems: telecom providers assume that the customer tacitly agrees to the change, if he does not respond to, for example, the e-mail.

According to ACM, this opt-out will be assessed more critically and the watchdog will henceforth set opt-in as the norm. In the event of disputes where the customer disputes that he has received the communication, the provider must subsequently prove that it was sent, that the address used can be assumed to be correct and that the notification has arrived. Telecom providers must ensure that subscribers can easily compare the new situation with the old and must point out to them how to cancel.

ACM will also pay more attention to ensure that the provider actually informs the customer about this at least one month before the change takes effect, as prescribed in Article 7.2 of the Telecommunications Act. “The provider ensures that the subscriber also has one month to determine whether he wants to use the free termination right,” the policy rules now state. According to the authority, this period must be extended during holiday periods. “ACM considers it reasonable that, for example, in the event of an announcement during the summer holidays, the announcement period is extended by two weeks and by one week during the Christmas period.”