NBTC 'fails to protect consumers'
Mar 22, 2013 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) failed to protect consumers in its first year of operation, an academic claims.
Deunden Nikomborirak of the Thailand Development Research Institute said the failure was because the NBTC's consumer protection panel only acknowledged consumer complaints rather than resolving the cases.
"The NBTC failed to reach the aspect of consumer protection as more than 90% of complaints could not be resolved within 30 days as required by related laws," she told a consumer protection forum yesterday.
Last year might have been a golden year for private telecom companies, but it wasn't for consumers, she said.
The consumer protection panel has received about 5,000 complaints related to telecom and broadcasting services in the past year.
But the panel has a limited role, serving only as a channel for consumers to lodge complaints.
Ms Deunden said delays in handling complaints are mainly due to bureaucratic red tape inside the NBTC. The final resolution to solve a complaint, however, is up to the NBTC's telecom committee.
"The telecom committee should give authority to a specific unit to handle consumer complaints properly," she said.
Most complaints were about the expiry of prepaid credit for mobile phones, domestic call rates higher than 99 satang per minute, annoying short messages and exaggerated advertisements.
The NBTC began enforcing new rules on Jan 18. Mobile operators must register prepaid SIM cards, scrap expiry dates on prepaid mobile credit and cap the domestic call rate at 99 satang per minute.
After the enactment of the new rules, the consumer protection panel still received complaints about these issues.
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