Pay TV providers disregard consumer rights in contracts

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 15:14

 by Lan Dung

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Pay TV providers have shown little regard for the rights of consumers, according to deputy head of consumer protection at the Competition Management Department Cao Xuan Quang.

The department, which comes under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, reportedly found numerous contractual irregularities in their standard customer contracts and the general terms of trade registered by pay TV providers.

Pay TV providers often ignore the rights of customers in contracts. Photo

According to the Prime Minister's Decision No.2/2012/QD-TTg, which came into effect on March 1, 2012, firms must complete the registration procedure within 90 days. However, according to department deputy director Nguyen Phuong Nam, more than 30 companies out of a total of 42 have not yet fulfilled their responsibilities. He added that the department would begin checking registrations in Ha Noi in October.

Quang said there were six common errors found in the contracts and general items submitted by pay TV providers.

The most common error was that providers failed to detail their legal responsibilities toward the customer, often inserting clauses abdicating them of any responsibility for paying compensation to customers.

"If providers want to end their service, they have to inform their customers. There is a legal avenue for the two sides to negotiate the terms of ending the contract and to remedy the negative impact on the customer," said Quang.

Companies have also attempted to limit the rights of consumers to bring legal action against them, claiming that customers can not seek refunds or redress for installation and connection fees.

Some companies have even changed the conditions of the contract after it had been negotiated with the customer, often intimidating subscribers into fulfilling their contractual obligations even when the company itself had failed to do so.

Determined to correct the misrepresentation of the law found in these pay TV contracts, Quang emphasised that "if side A makes any change in their service, they have to inform side B and receive the acceptance of side B."

Quang added that enterprises were allowed to change the price of their services, but would have to give clear notice of the new pricing and state when it would take effect for consumers.

He cited one example where "before the tenth of the month, side A would send a price change announcement to the address of side B. If side B does not receive the price change announcement between the 10th to 20th of that month, then side B is responsible for contacting side A to receive the information. At the end of this period, if no request is received from side B, side A assumes that side B has received the price change announcement and automatically agrees with all of the terms in the price change announcement."

According to Quang, the department also found that enterprises would claim the right to transfer obligations of service provision to other firms without receiving the customer's consent first; adding that in one contract it states: "Side B agrees that side A has the right to transfer the contract or any related rights and obligations, partly or in total, to any organizations and individuals chosen by side A once this information is given to side B on the basis of protecting the legitimate rights of side B."

He clarified that under the current law, consumers not only needed to receive change of service announcements from their provider but also need to give their consent for any changes first.

These revelations highlight the ongoing imbalance between the rights of consumers and the increasing power of pay TV providers. The irregularities are contrary to existing laws on consumer protection as set forth in Decree No.99/2011/ND-CP. — VNS

Comments (5)

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Ha??? - Sunday, 29/05/2016, 17:24 Reply | Like

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Hoàng Đình Kha - Monday, 22/06/2015, 11:17 Reply | Like

Bài viết hay quá.

Nguyễn Hạnh Đan - Monday, 15/06/2015, 10:54 Reply | Like

Mỗi thời đều khác nhau nhưng nhìn chung bây giờ yên bình rồi.

An Linh - Monday, 15/06/2015, 07:02 Reply | Like

Những khu này đúng thật là trước đây rất "nổi tiếng"

Ngọc Mến - Monday, 15/06/2015, 06:41 Reply | Like