• Field
  • Date

Improved consumer protection: conciliation body sees significant decline in procedures

“There was a significant decline in the number of procedures registered with the RTR conciliation body in 2012; after 5,470 procedures in 2011, there were only 4,370 in 2012,” stated Georg Serentschy, CEO of RTR’s Telecom-
munications and Postal Services Division, summarising the results during the presentation of the conciliation body’s activity report. “This positive trend can be attributed to efforts made over the past two years to improve consumer protection. A statutory amendment in November 2011 empowered us to issue ordinances and intervene in areas where consumers were at a disadvantage,” Serentschy elaborated. “For example, the procedures for mobile data services in 2012 were halved through the Cost Limitation Ordinance which became effective on 1 May 2012. The ordinance envisages a cost limit of EUR 60 with regard to overrun fees when using mobile data services,” Serentschy added.  

More than 85% of conciliation cases concern mobile network operators

The vast majority of conciliation cases concern mobile network operators. Specifically, problems with this group of operators accounted for 3,774 of the 4,370 procedures filed during the year under review. Here, A1 mobil with 1,587 procedures and T-Mobile with 1,380 headed the statistics. Orange, at only 237 procedures, is to be commended in this regard.

New cost trap: content services (WEB/WAP billing)

“Content services accessed via the user interface of a smartphone or PC emerged as the new focus of the procedures last year. While there were only 57 procedures involved in this area in 2011, the number rose to 518 in 2012,” Serentschy observed, drawing attention to the most recent disturbing development in conciliation activities. “These services do not always use transparent methods when soliciting customers. Often people are lured with promises of prizes and free games. This results in small or large fixed charges on monthly phone bills,” Serentschy said, describing the key features of content services. In this context, he recommended checking phone bills carefully and, if necessary, registering an objection to the bill.

Regulatory authority offers new service: RTR-NetTest

The RTR-NetTest, accessible at www.netztest.at, provides users with information on the current quality of their internet access service (including upload and download speeds, ping response and signal strength).

“With the RTR-NetTest, anyone can check the transmission speed and quality of their mobile or fixed network internet access, anywhere and at any time,” stated Georg Serentschy, CEO of RTR’s Telecommunications and Postal Services Division, on introducing the regulatory authority’s new service. “Our goal is to raise consumer awareness and knowledge of data transmission rates (download and upload speed) and of the quality of the internet access provided. Time and again the various internet products promise customers data transmission rates that cannot keep up with reality,” Serentschy explained as the reason for developing this tool.

Further information on RTR’s consumer services can be viewed at www.rtr.at/en/tk/KonsumentenService