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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Telcos stopped from auto charging after free trials

SINGAPORE - TELCOS will no longer be allowed to reel consumers in with free trials and then bill them if they forget to terminate the service after the trial period ends.

Instead, telcos will have to clearly indicate the terms of the trial, and get a consumer's 'express agreement' to continue the service once the free period ends, said the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) on Wednesday.

The agency said it had received an 'increasing' number of complaints from consumers about telcos dangling free trial services but burying any mention of them within the fine print of a contract, without giving numbers.

Because of this, it said, many consumers 'ended up being subscribed to, and charged for services which they were unaware of'.

This prompted the IDA to make the change to the Telecom Competition Code, which governs the way telcos market and sell their services to consumers and businesses here.

The move, which kicks in on Jan 21, 2011, is not aimed at ending free trials 'which could be beneficial to consumers, but to ensure that licensees keep consumers clearly informed up front of the terms of any free trial services and when charging will begin, and to obtain the consumers' express agreement to subscribe to the service to minimise disputes,' the IDA added.

source: The Straits Times


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