TELECOM & INTERNET | Tony Chua, Hong Kong

Government boosts protection of telecom subscribers with industry code

Participating service providers have revised contract forms and revamped service platforms and sales and internal supporting procedures.

Starting this month, consumers subscribing to telecommunications services will be afforded enhanced protection with the implementation of a new code of practice.

All major fixed and mobile network operators and one major external telecoms services operator are implementing the Industry Code of Practice for Telecommunications Service Contracts.

Under the code, personal or residential users of new telecoms service contracts will enjoy better protection, including:

  • Enhanced clarity of information on services and charges incurred and provisions in contracts;
  • Provision of written confirmation for contracts concluded over the telephone;
  • Opt-out option for free-trial service with the arrangement not leading to inconvenience for customers or involving them incurring any cost;
  • A cooling-off period for contracts that are entered into during unsolicited visits to customers' homes;
  • No automatic contract renewal without the customer's prior agreement;
  • More transparent arrangements for contract terminations, renewals, extensions and replacements;
  • Better customer protection in case service providers vary the contract terms and conditions unilaterally; and
  • Fairer arrangement for customers' service relocation requests.

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