This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 5 °C Monday 27 January, 2020
Advertisement

Three telcos are in hot water over 'inappropriate' marketing slipped into contract docs

Vodafone, Eir and Sky all face possible fines from the communications watchdog.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THREE IRISH TELECOMS providers could face High Court action for including marketing material in notifications sent to customers about changes to their contracts.

Vodafone, Eir and Sky Ireland have been notified by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) that they have breached the Universal Service Regulations.

Each of the three organisations have until 22 June to respond to the notification.

Following the appeals process, if ComReg deems the telcos’ explanations insufficient, the regulator can apply to the High Court to issue a fine against each party.

Universal Service Regulations were amended in 2012 to outline exactly how telcos should inform their customers about changes to their contracts.

At present, the rules state firms must individually notify their subscribers not less than one month in advance of any proposed changes to their contract.

In this correspondence, there is a minimum level of information telecoms firms must provide.

For example, ‘contract change’ must be written in upper-case letters at the start of correspondence, there must be a clear statement of the consumer’s right to withdraw from the contract without penalty and the date from which changes take effect must be included.

The regulation also states this information in relation to contract changes must be presented in isolation from other content – such as marketing material.

3338750 Source: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

Fora contacted all three telcos notified by ComReg in relation to their “inappropriate placement of marketing material”.

Sky Ireland said that it has engaged with ComReg during this investigation and the company will review the findings before responding directly to the regulator. Eir said it had no comment on the matter, while Vodafone had responded at the time of publication.

Unhappy

Earlier this year, a number of major Irish telcos rounded on the communications watchdog and criticised what they saw as “serious failures”, weakness and under-staffing at the state body.

A series of submissions to the regulator, published alongside its new five-year strategy, highlight the degree to which telco companies have lost faith with ComReg’s ability to do its job.

Some of the main issues cited included ComReg’s prolonged investigation into Eir potentially abusing its position as Universal Service Provider and concerns around the regulator’s calls for more powers to enforce financial sanctions.

Earlier this year, Eir was hit with the biggest ever penalty handed out by the watchdog when it was fined €3 million for failing to hit performance targets set out in its universal service obligation.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive a regular digest of Fora’s top articles delivered to your inbox.

Written by Killian Woods and posted on Fora.ie

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Fora Staff

Read next:

COMMENTS