Serentschy cautions consumers about agreements over the phone: Cancellations often difficult

Press release dated 28 August 2008

"Our conciliation body has received a constant barrage of complaints regarding the customer acquisition practices of the company MyPhone," comments Georg Serentschy, managing director of RTR's Telecommunications Division, on a major source of problems in the regulatory authority's conciliation work. "Of the 3,426 cases submitted since the beginning of the year, 570 have concerned MyPhone, and 600 of over 4,000 telephone inquiries received by our call center in the first seven months of the year were complaints about MyPhone. In addition, we have received more than 200 written inquiries."

According to the parties concerned, some callers even claimed to be Telekom Austria employees offering an inexpensive rate package. A majority of the complainants maintain that they did not enter into a legally valid contract with MyPhone. In many cases, carrier preselection (i.e., the automatic routing of the relevant subscriber's calls via MyPhone) was set up without the customer's consent.

Problems arose in the course of the conciliation procedure because MyPhone disregarded the suspension of payment dates provided for under Austrian law, and payment reminders were still sent to the parties concerned. In this context, RTR recently sent a letter to MyPhone instructing the company to comply with the relevant legal requirements.

Always send complaints to operators in writing

"We advise people to be very cautious whenever they hear sales pitches over the phone. In any case, it is important to ask for the name of the company and contact person as well as their address and telephone number," Serentschy recommends. "After the call, if you have the impression that something was not completely legitimate, you should send a written complaint immediately and keep a copy for yourself. Austrian law allows agreements to be made over the telephone, but customers can cancel agreements within a period of seven days"

For comprehensive information regarding consumer protection, please refer to Consumer service on the RTR web site.