On Friday, the Minister’s council approved a bill that will protect consumers from drastic measures when they don’t pay their bill. It will give them new rights when they contest an internet bill. Customers that don’t pay their bill will be able to keep using limited internet on their phone for 10 days. Providers will no longer be able to suddenly block access to all services if the customer is contesting all or part of a bill.
The Internet mediator has been inundated with complaints about billing errors, including billed text messages or payments for applications that were never requested.
When the customer contests the bill, the provider will sometimes block access all services until the customer pays what they are contesting. That will no longer be allowed. Providers won’t be able to block services that are being contested, as long as the customer pays the rest of the bill.
This new law introduces a minimum internet access period when a bill is not paid. Currently, if a customer has an unpaid bill they can still receive calls and make emergency calls. Internet access has been included so that the customer can make urgent bank transfers, for example.
The new law will also introduce the sale of devices with unlimited contracts for existing customers. For example, the customer would get a smartphone or tablet for am extremely low price if they take out a contract.
The new law also includes more instances where the Foreign Affairs, Home Office and Defence departments would be able to exceptionally use signal jammers – which are currently managed by the Army. The bomb disposal service (SEDEE) and the Federal Canine Police management could also use them to stop explosives being set off via a mobile phone.