RTR's new eGovernment service enables online requests for conciliation procedures

Press release dated 2 October 2008

"From now on, consumers will be able to submit requests to RTR's conciliation body online at http://www.rtr.at/en/tk/SchlichtungsstelleRTR,“ said Georg Serentschy, one of RTR's two managing directors, in announcing the regulatory authority's new eGovernment service. "We've developed a web form where consumers can enter their contact information and submit the documents required for a conciliation procedure. This will enable them to communicate their complaints quickly and without excessive bureaucracy.“

New procedural guidelines: Shorter and easier to understand

Another development in RTR's conciliation activities was a major change in the procedural guidelines for conciliation cases. The procedure now calls for the use of a standardized form which can be submitted to the regulatory authority online or (as in the past) by fax or conventional mail. In the future, requests for conciliation procedures will have to be submitted no later than one year after the incidents on which they are based.

Complaints regarding value-added services to be reviewed more thoroughly

Another positive development for consumers is the fact that RTR has expanded its review standards for value-added services. Whereas objections to invoices for value-added services were previously only reviewed for accuracy in technical, mathematical and legal terms under Austrian telecommunications law, RTR will now also review the reasons underlying the objections. For example, this will include the use of such services by third parties.

New regulations have also been introduced with regard to the consumers' obligation to cooperate and provide information. Procedures will be discontinued in cases where questions are not answered or documents not submitted within a reasonable period of time despite reminders from the conciliation body.

In the future, the consumer concerned in each case will also be required to suggest an initial solution which s/he would find acceptable. The purpose of this provision is to accelerate the process of finding a solution which is acceptable to both the consumer and operator/provider. "In many cases, consumers only wanted some form of 'apology' or compensation, such as a five-euro refund. In such procedures, we hope the parties can reach an agreement quickly," commented Serentschy on this part of the new guidelines. Citing another improvement, Serentschy noted: "Another of our main concerns was the need to streamline and shorten the previous guidelines, and to translate them from pure 'legalese' into a more understandable language."

Additional information can be found on the RTR web site at http://www.rtr.at/en/tk/KonsumentenService. The web form can be found at http://www.rtr.at/webformular (in German).