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RTR publishes 2009 conciliation report: proceedings involving mobile data services on the rise

„After the great number of proceedings in recent years involving problems with fixed-network telephone service, the focus of complaints is now shifting to mobile telephony: of the 4,258 proceedings filed with the RTR conciliation board in 2009, almost 75% or 3,182 concerned mobile operators,“ Georg Serentschy, Managing Director of RTR's Telecommunications Division, announced, presenting statistics from the 2009 report, published today, on the conciliation board activities. A total of 5,321 proceedings were concluded by the conciliation board in the reporting year of 2009. „On the positive side, we were able in 33% of the cases to arbitrate a settlement between consumers and operators, thereby ‘winning’ for consumers a total of about EUR 380,000,“ Serentschy disclosed additional statistics from the report.

84% of proceedings registered in 2009 involved charging disputes

„Viewed more closely, the major portion of the proceedings, i.e. 3,597 cases, involved disputes about charging; within this area, cases concerning mobile data services accounted for the largest share, increasing from 697 proceedings in 2008 to 1,044 in the year reported on,“ Serentschy continued. This trend is continuing in 2010. As of May 31, 2010, of the 1,822 procedures submitted in the first five months of the year, 669 cases involved mobile data services.

„By way of assistance to interested consumers, we have published a ‘Checklist for mobile data services’ on our website. Charging disputes involving mobile data services could be avoided by choosing prepaid, flat-fee or fair-use products,“ the managing director of the regulatory authority recommended. „Yet we are not only seeking to heighten sensitivity among consumers but also to motivate mobile service companies to offer fair products, or at least provide customers with tools to be able to control the data volume consumed.“

Added-value text messages under continued scrutiny

„Value-added text messaging continues to be controversial. On the one hand, the number of proceedings involving value-added text messages decreased from 168 in 2008 to 132 in 2009. One reason for this drop may be the minor amounts usually under dispute, as consumers often do not consider it worth the effort to lodge a billing complaint,“ Serentschy explained. „On the other hand, there has been an increase in the number of phone enquiries on this subject, accounting for about 10% of all enquiries by phone recorded during the reporting year. We will continue to closely observe the developments and respond if necessary by introducing more stringent legal requirements and stricter monitoring,“ Serentschy stated in conclusion.

The report on the activities of the conciliation board in 2009 and the checklist for mobile data services have been published on the RTR website under the following link: