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Mobile Telecommunications Code 2023

Terms and Conditions

 

GLOSSARY

 

 

 

For the purposes of the Code:

 

 

 

MTCF                –           Mobile Telecommunications Committee Forum

 

The Code           –           Mobile Telecommunications Code 2022

 

FTC                    -            Fair Trading Commission

 

CPA                    -            Consumer Protection Act, CAP. 326D

 

UR                      -            Utility Regulation

 

TU                      -            Telecommunications Unit

 

DCCA                -            Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

 

OPC                    -            Office of Public Counsel

 

FC                       -            Fair Competition

 

The Forum        -            The    Mobile    Telecommunications    Forum    as constituted in accordance with Appendix 1

 

Consumer         -            Refers  to  an  individual  who  (a)  acquires  from  a supplier  goods  or  services  of  a  kind  ordinarily intended for private use or consumption; (b) does not acquire the goods or services for the purpose of (i) supplying them in trade or commerce; or (ii) consuming  them  in  the  course  of  a  process  of production  or  manufacture;  and  in  the  case  of goods, does not acquire them for the purpose of repairing or treating in trade or commerce other goods or fixtures on land, or as stipulated in the CPA

 

Consumer Contract      An arrangement or agreement between a Service Provider  and  a  Consumer  whether  orally  or  in writing  for  the  supply  of  a  Telecommunications Product.

 

Service Provider           The   meaning   prescribed   in   Section   2   of   the Telecommunications Act, CAP. 282B of the Laws of Barbados

 

SECTION 1

 

INTRODUCTION

 

  1. Name of Code

 

 

This Code is called the Mobile Telecommunications Code 2023.

 

 

 

  1. Objectives

 

 

The objectives of the Code are to:

 

 

  1. a) Make it easier for individual consumers to understand the information in their mobile telecommunications contracts;

 

 

  1. b) Establish consumer-friendly business practices and increase stakeholder confidence in the mobile telecommunications industry;

 

 

  1. c) Create procedures for the following:

 

 

(i)        Advertisements and Representation of Services; (ii)       Consumer Contracts, Marketing and Sales;

(iii)      Billing;

(iv)      Complaint Handling;

(v)       Debt Management, Collection and Credit Practices; (vi)      Code Compliance by Service Providers;

(vii)     Reporting; and

(viii)    Monitoring, Reviewing and Making Amendments to the Code.

 

 

  1. d) Increase compliance with the CPA and other consumer legislation as may be applicable in Barbados; and

 

 

  1. e) Provide guidelines for self-regulation within the industry.

 

 

 

  1. Scope

 

 

1)      The Code binds all licensed Service Providers operating in Barbados that are signatories to it and that provide mobile telecommunications services to consumers1. For the avoidance of doubt, this Code does not apply to other services offered by a licensed Service Provider.

 

 

 

2)      The Code is developed pursuant to Section 52 of the CPA which states

 

 

1  See definition section

 

that the FTC may, with the approval of the Minister, make regulations:

 

 

  1. a) prescribing an industry code, or specified provisions of an industry code, for the purposes of Part VIII of the CPA;

 

 

  1. b) declaring an industry code, or specified provisions of an industry code, to be mandatory or voluntary;

 

 

  1. c) for a voluntary industry code, of specified provisions of a voluntary industry code, specifying:

 

 

  1. the method by which a person is bound by the Code or those provisions; and

 

  1. the method by which a person ceases to be bound,

 

 

  1. d) making such  provision  as  the  FTC  thinks  fit  for  the  registering  of persons bound or otherwise affected by an industry code; and

 

 

  1. e) creating for contraventions of an applicable industry code summary offences punishable as mentioned in Section 61 (1) (c) of the CPA.

 

 

 

  1. Code Implementation Date

 

 

  1. a) This Code shall be in effect from 1 October, 2023 until such time as a new mobile telecommunications code is issued by the FTC.

 

 

  1. Code Administration

 

 

1)      It is the duty of the FTC to administer and enforce the Code.

 

 

2)      The Forum will consult on the Code from time to time.

 

 

3)      Once the Code takes effect, the Service Providers that are members of the

Forum must publicise the Code by:

 

 

(a)    Publishing it on their websites; and

 

(b)    Providing a link to the FTC’s webpage, which features the Code.

 

 

4)      This Code does not prevent, limit, exclude, remove or restrict:

 

 

(a)    Any  consumer  from  having  access  to  the  Courts  or  to  any  other dispute resolution forum;

 

(b)    The effect of any written law or approved guidelines that impose on the  Service  Provider  a  stricter  duty  than  that  imposed  under  this Code; and

 

(c)     The effect of a more beneficial remedy to the consumer than those already provided under this Code.

 

5)      Compliance  with  the  Code  constitutes  a  good  faith  effort  by  Service Providers but does not remove the duty of the Service Provider to comply with:

  1. i) the CPA;
  2. ii) the Utilities Regulation Act, CAP. 282;

iii)       the Consumer Guarantees Act, CAP. 326E; iv)       the Telecommunications Act, CAP. 282B; v)        the Fair Competition Act, CAP. 326C;

  1. vi) the Fair Trading Commission Act, CAP. 326B; or

vii)      any other applicable laws of Barbados which may be enacted after the commencement of this Code.

 

 

6)    Compliance with the Code does not guarantee complete compliance with the laws above or the requirements of the FTC or any other regulator.

 

 

7)    For the avoidance of doubt, reference in this Code to a statute, ordinance, code  or  other  law  includes  rules  and  regulations  and  other  instruments under it and consolidations amendments, re-enactments or replacements of any of them.

 

 

 

  1. Transitional Provision Relating to the Code

 

 

At the commencement of the Code,

 

(a)    Retail  contracts  entered  into  after  this  date  must   comply  with  the provisions of this Code; and

 

(b)    Retail contracts that pre-date this Code will have six (6) months to become compliant with the Code. After the six (6) month period has elapsed, all contracts must comply with the Code.

 

 

 

  1. Conflict

 

 

The provisions of this Code take precedence over any contract term contained in  any  Consumer  Contract  between  a  Consumer  and  a  Service  Provider. However, if there is a conflict between the Code, the CPA and any other statute

 

or the requirements of the FTC, OPC, TU, or any other regulator, the Service Provider will not be in breach of the Code by complying with the statute or the regulator.

 

  1. Code Commitment

 

 

1)      Service Providers must demonstrate commitment to the Code by taking the following actions:

 

 

  1. a) Provide staff and relevant subcontractors with annual training on the Code, ensuring that such personnel are trained regarding the Service Provider’s procedures for complying with the Code;

 

  1. b) Inform staff   and   subcontractors   annually   that   they   will   face disciplinary action for non-compliance with the Code; and

 

  1. c) Publish an   annual   statement   which   sets   out   the   company’s commitment to the Code on the company’s website and social media pages.

 

 

2)      Service Providers must notify the FTC annually that they have complied with Clause 8 (1) of the Code no later than 30 June of every year that the Code remains in effect;

 

 

3)      Service Providers must promote a company culture of compliance with the Code by taking the following actions:

 

 

  1. a) Placing the Code or, in the alternative, a hyperlink to the Code in a prominent position on their websites; and

 

  1. b) In every  retail  store,  display  the  Code  or  in  the  alternative,  a statement that the Code is available upon request;

 

4)    The FTC may investigate breaches of the Code.

 

 

5)      Upon the conclusion of an investigation where the FTC determines that there may be a breach of the Code, a formal warning will be issued to the Service Provider directing them to comply with Clauses 8 (1), (2) and/or (3) of the Code, in thirty (30) days.

 

 

6)      Where   a   Service   Provider   fails   to   comply   with   the   provisions   of Clause 8 (5) above, the FTC shall publish a Public Notice advising of the Service Provider’s non-compliance.

 

SECTION 2

 

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

 

 

 

Clear Communication

 

 

  1. Plain Language

 

 

Service Providers must communicate with consumers in plain language. This means  that  the  information  made  available  to  consumers  is  clear,  current, accurate, user-friendly, free of material omissions and easily-understood.

 

 

  1. Information to be in Writing

 

 

1)      Where this Code requires Service Providers to inform a consumer of any matter, they must either:

 

 

  1. a) Send written correspondence to the consumer via electronic mail or SMS messaging within twenty-four (24) to forty-eight (48) hours, or by registered mail within ten (10) business days; or

 

 

  1. b) Any such   mechanism   as   may   be   relevant   to   the   particular consumer.  The  notification  may  be  by  way  of  a  hyperlink  to  a location   where   the   information   is   available   in   downloadable format; or

 

 

  1. c) Verbally communicate   with   the   consumer   and   confirm   their statements in writing in accordance with this clause.

 

 

2)      If the Service Provider fails to comply with Clause 10 (1), the consumer cannot  be  bound  to  any  consumer  contract  or  purported  consumer contract. Furthermore, the interpretation most favourable to the consumer will prevail.

 

 

  1. Prominent Display of Information

 

 

Service  Providers  must  prominently  display  relevant  information  at  their premises and/or on easily accessible websites and publish the information in mass media and or social media.

 

  1. Prices

 

 

All prices relating to mobile telecommunications services, including minimum monthly  charges  and  out-of-plan  fees,  must  be  clearly  and  prominently highlighted in offers, contracts, and the Summary of Important information.

 

 

  1. Advertisements must be Clear

 

 

A Service Provider must give clear and sufficient details to allow consumers to make informed decisions and to avoid consumers being misled. Additionally, Service   Providers   must   ensure   that   important   disclaimers,   restrictions, conditions,    limitations    and/or    qualifications    of    an    offer    are    clearly communicated to the consumer.

 

 

 

  1. Primary Message Disclosed

 

 

The primary message and the core contractual terms must be clearly disclosed in advertisements.

 

 

  1. Medium Utilised

 

 

The average time that consumers take to review advertisements, based on the medium used, must be taken into account when Service Providers determine the  level  of  detail  and  the  prominence  given  to  information  highlighted  in advertisements.

 

 

  1. Restricted Availability

 

 

Where service is restricted and unavailable due to geographical or technical limitations which substantially affect the performance of the service and are known  to  the  Service Provider, this  information  must  be  highlighted  in  the advertising material designed by the Service Provider.

 

 

  1. Limited Stock

 

 

When items that are limited in stock are advertised, Service Providers must utilise the phrase “limited stock” in a prominent font.

 

 

  1. Savings Claims

 

 

  1. a) Service Providers  must  not  make  a  savings  claim  in  any  advertising material unless it is true and it can be demonstrated that all consumers would save under the offer.

 

  1. b) However, if the savings claim applies to specific groups of consumers, this must be clearly stated.

 

 

  1. Unlimited

 

 

  1. a) The term   “unlimited”   should   not   be   utilised   unless   the   service   is genuinely “unlimited” and not subject to exclusions.

 

 

  1. b) A Service Provider must not charge a consumer for services above the

agreed price for the “unlimited’ service.

 

 

  1. Free

 

 

  1. a) The term “free” should not be used to promote a handset, hardware or service unless  there  is  no  charge  or  fee  of  any  kind  required  by  the consumer to pay.

 

 

  1. b) In addition, consumers shall be given a notification stipulating when the free period will expire.

 

  1. c) Any offers of free usage which must be utilised within in a specific period must have that information clearly highlighted in promotional materials.

 

SECTION 3

 

  1. Advertising Disclaimers

 

 

Advertising disclaimers must be:

 

 

  1. a) clearly marked;

 

  1. b) of a reasonable font size when compared to the font used in the main text;

 

  1. c) readily understandable; and

 

  1. d) appropriate for the medium utilised2.

 

 

 

  1. Television, Print, Social Media and Radio Disclaimers

 

 

1)      Television, print and social media disclaimers must be:

 

 

  1. a) clearly and  visibly  denoted  by  an  asterisk  and  explained  in  a footnote that is placed in close proximity to the offer;

 

  1. b) legible; and

 

  1. c) readily understood and suited to the intended target audience.

 

 

2)      When making a disclaimer on radio, the Service Provider must:

 

 

  1. a) clearly and   succinctly,   articulate   the   offer   as   a   part   of   the advertisement.

 

General

 

 

Advertising disclaimers must not negate or nullify the main message conveyed by advertising materials.

 

 

  1. Legal Information

 

 

In every advertisement (print/digital), a link to the Service Provider’s website

should be included. The said website must include:

 

  1. a) The URL of the homepage of the Service Provider’s website;

 

  1. b) A contacts link which provides the Service Provider’s legal name;

 

  1. c) The Service Provider’s trade name, where applicable; and

 

 

 

 

 

2  the font utilized for the newspaper would be different than that of social media

 

  1. d) The Service Provider’s contact details including business addresses, telephone and e-mail address.

 

 

  1. Unsolicited Services

 

 

A Service Provider must not charge for any device or service that the consumer has not purchased.

 

 

  1. Headline Representations

 

 

The headline representation of an advertisement must not be qualified by fine print, which indicates that it is unlikely or impossible that the consumer, in the ordinary use of the service, could reasonably achieve the benefits suggested by the headline.

 

 

  1. Additional Charges

 

 

If  additional  charges  apply  to  the  use  of  a  service  or  product  that  is  being advertised,  the  additional  charges  must  be  clearly  stated  by  the  Service Provider.

 

 

  1. Offers

 

 

1)      Before  a  consumer  agrees  to  an  offer,  Service  Providers  must  clearly communicate their terms and provide consumers with a summary of the main  details  of  all  current  offers.  The  summary  must  be  in  a  separate document labelled “Summary of Important Information” (SII) which is more properly set out in Clause 28.

 

 

2)      Service Providers must retain proof which shows that the aforementioned summary was disclosed at the time of an offer.

 

 

 

  1. CONTENT OF SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT INFORMATION

 

 

1)      The  information  provided  in  the  SII  does  not  replace  or  fulfil  any requirements to provide an actual written contract to the consumer.

 

2)      The  SII  must  be  in  the  form  set  out  in  Appendix  2.  The  following information must be included in the order stated herein:

 

  1. A subheading  labelled  “General  Plan  Information”,  immediately followed by a table providing a synopsis of the plan, including:

 

(i)     A description of the plan, which states the minutes, data and

SMS allowance applicable; (ii)    The duration of the contract;

(iii)   A credit limit and the services to which it applies;

 

(iv)   The  key  terms  and  conditions  of  the  contract,  including  the inclusions, exclusions and any important information about the offer;

 

(v)    Limitations of use, including the restrictions and qualifications of the offer; and

 

(vi)   ”Other Relevant Information”which states whether the offer depends      on      a      bundling      arrangement      with      other telecommunications services and, if so,  a description of those other services.

 

  1. A sub-heading labelled “Pricing Information”, followed by: (i) Monthly charges;

(ii)    Early termination charges, if any;

 

(iii)   Local SMS charges;

 

(iv)   Out–of-plan data charges;

 

(v)    Out-of-plan voice charges; and

 

(vi)   Out-of- plan SMS Charges.

 

 

  1. A sub-heading labelled “Other Information”, followed by:

 

 

(i)     A link to the contract on the Service Provider’s website;

 

(ii)    A link to guidelines on how to set usage alerts for various phone types/models;

 

(iii)   Warnings  about  roaming  costs  and  the  recommendation  to purchase a roaming plan before travelling;

 

(iv)   References on how to turn off the roaming plan; (v)    A link to the Mobile Telecommunications Code.

 

  1. A sub-heading  labelled  ”Consumer  Service  Information”,  followed by:

 

(i)     Consumer service contact details;

 

(ii)    Information on the internal dispute resolution process; and

 

(iii)   Contact details for the FTC.

 

3)      A Service Provider may include any other information in the SII which may  be  deemed  necessary.  However,  the  SII  must  not  exceed  two  (2)

8½ x 11 pages after all mandatory information has been included.

 

 

4)      If the Service Provider fails to comply with Clause 28 (1 - 3), the consumer cannot  be  bound  to  any   consumer  contract   or  purported   consume contract. Furthermore, the interpretation most favourable to the consumer will prevail.

 

 

  1. Staff Training

 

 

As part of staff training, representatives must be directed to provide consumers with a copy of the SII.

 

 

  1. Display of the SII

 

 

1)      Display  of  the  SII  and/or  in  the  alternative  a  statement  that  the  SII  is available  on  request  must  be  displayed  prominently  in  the  Service Provider’s stores and on the company’s website,

 

2)      The SII must be available at the point of sale and given to the consumer (by the Service Provider’s sales associate before the consumer signs the contract).

 

 

  1. The SII’s Applicability to Telephone Sales

 

 

1)      Where a sale is transacted over the telephone, the Service Provider must send a copy of the SII to the consumer via e-mail, SMS or any such medium which  will  allow  the  Service  Provider  to  deliver  the  notification  to  the consumer within twenty-four (24) hours.

 

 

2)      The  consumer  must  be  given  a  cooling-off  period  of  at  least  three  (3) working days during which they can review the SII and opt out of the consumer contract without a penalty.

 

 

3)      The  consumer  may  choose  to  waive  the  cooling-off  period.  Where  the consumer  so  chooses,  he  acknowledges  that  he  will  be  bound  by  all consumer contracts with the Service Provider.

 

 

4)      Subject to Clause 31 (3), a Service Provider must not charge or penalise a consumer for a service where they fail to provide the cooling-off period.

 

SECTION 4

 

 

 

  1. CONTRACTS

 

 

(1)    Provision of Contract

 

 

  1. a) Service Providers must make their consumer contracts available in their stores and on their websites. An electronic or a printed copy of the contract  must  be  given,  at  no  charge,  to  every  consumer  who signs up for a new mobile telecommunications service.

 

 

  1. b) This contract must be drafted in plain and simple language and avoid the use of technical jargon, except where necessary.

 

(2)    Cancellation in the event of Contractual Conflict

 

Where a Service Provider does not deliver the contract within the required time frame, or if the terms and conditions of the contract conflict with the representations  made  to  the  consumer,  the  consumer  may  cancel  the contract  within thirty (30) calendar days from the indicated date of the start of the contract, without a penalty.

 

 

(3)    Key Contract Terms and Conditions

 

 

Contracts must contain the information below, which must be listed in a clear manner (items a to g):

 

  1. a) The services to which the consumer agreed;

 

  1. b) The duration of the contract;

 

  1. c) Any limitations,  restrictions  or  exclusions  in  the  contract,  with particular emphasis on those services that could result in out-of-plan charges or additional fees;

 

  1. d) The minimum monthly charge for services;

 

  1. e) The early cancellation fee, if applicable;

 

  1. f) The date on which the consumer will no longer be subject to the early cancellation fee; and

 

  1. g) Out-of-plan charges for voice, data and SMS.

 

(4)    Other Aspects of the Contract

 

 

  1. a) An explanation of all related documents, including privacy policies and fair use policies;

 

  1. b) A policy for service outages and the application of rebates;

 

  1. c) A statement on whether the contract will be extended automatically, on a  month-to-month  basis  when  it  expires  and,  if  so,  the  new starting date;

 

  1. d) A statement  on  whether  amending  a  contract  term  or  condition, including changing the contract or promotion, would:

 

(i)     Change the price of the services;

 

(ii)    Extend the consumer’s commitment period; or

 

(iii)   Change any other aspect of the contract, including changes to related bundles.

 

  1. e) If applicable,  the  amount  of  any  security  deposit  and  any  related conditions,   including   the   conditions   for   return,   forfeiture   and interest payment about the deposit; and
  2. f) Where consumers can find information about: (i) Rates for optional services, if applicable;

 

(ii)      The hardware manufacturer’s warranty, if applicable;

 

(iii)    Tools   to   help   consumers   manage   their   bills,   including notifications on data usage and usage monitoring tools;

 

(iv)    Contact   information   for   the   Service   Provider’s   consumer service department and the hours of operation; and

 

(v)      Complaint   procedures   for   consumers,   including   contact information for the FTC.

 

 

 

  1. Consumer Service

 

 

1)      Service   Providers   must   not   charge   consumers   for   making   service enquiries.

 

 

2)      Service  Providers  must  endeavour  to  keep  the  average  wait  times  to  a reasonable minimum.

 

  1. Billing

 

 

Provision of Bills

 

 

1)      Subject  to  Clause  35,  Service  Providers  must  issue  bills  to  consumers within ten (10) business days after the ending of each billing period. If any delay  extends  beyond  ten  (10)  business  days,  the  consumer  must  be granted an extension of time to pay, of no less than the length of the delay. For the avoidance of doubt, delays in issuing bills do not affect the Service Provider’s right to charge for services nor the consumer’s obligation to pay for the service. Any such delay is NOT a breach of the Code.

 

2)      Service  Providers  are  not  required  to  issue  bills  in  respect  of  pre-paid service plans;

 

 

3)      Service Providers must ensure that the following information is included in all bills issued:

 

 

  1. a) The consumer’s name and address;

 

  1. b) The Service Provider’s business name and address;

 

  1. c) A consumer account or reference number;

 

  1. d) The relevant billing period and the date on which the bill was issued;

 

  1. e) Itemised charges,  including  the  total  amount  billed,  credits  where applicable, payments or discounts, and the total amount payable;

 

  1. f) The due date for payment;

 

  1. g) Penalties/charges which  will  be  incurred  in  the  event  of  a  late payment;

 

  1. h) One (1) free method of bill payment; and

 

  1. i) Contact information for billing enquiries and complaints.

 

 

4)      Service  Providers  must  not  charge  consumers  when  they  utilise  their mobile  service  to  make  contact  with  the  company  to  enquire  about  a billing charge.   In the circumstances where a consumer is inadvertently charged, the Service Provider must reverse all charges within forty-eight (48) hours of the consumer advising them of the same.

 

 

  1. Timely Charges

 

 

1)      Service Providers should ensure that all charges related to a billing period are included in the current bill.

 

 

2)      A Service Provider does not breach Clause 34 (1) where:

 

  1. a) Charges have  been  suspended  by  a  Service  Provider  while  under dispute;

 

  1. b) A force majeure event occurs;

 

  1. c) Industry-wide regulatory or legislative changes have been made and are applicable to all Service Providers; or

 

  1. d) A delay in the issuance of the bill is attributable to the act or default of another  person  beyond  his  control  and  that  he  took  reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid the delay.

 

 

  1. Bill Presentation and Format

 

 

1)      The billing format utilised must be simple, clear and easily read;

 

2)      The Service Provider’s terms and conditions should  set out the normal

timing for the issuance of bills;

 

3)      The medium utilised by the Service Provider to send bills to consumers must permit the storage and/or reproduction of the same in accordance with Clause 10 (1) (a). Any other formats which meet the requirement of storage and reproduction are permissible.

 

  1. Consumer Responsibilities

 

 

Consumers are responsible for reviewing the charges on their bills, verifying that  they  are  consistent  with  the  Service  Provider’s  published  or  contracted prices and with the service that they contracted to receive.

 

 

  1. Exception to Free Bills

 

 

Generally,  Service  Providers  must  not  charge  consumers  for  bills.  However, when the request by the consumer is deemed frivolous and vexatious or is for past itemised details, the Service Provider may charge a reasonable fee.

 

 

  1. Overbilling

 

 

1)      Where a consumer has been overcharged or overbilled for an undelivered, or for a delivered service that was subsequently cancelled, the consumer may recover the amounts paid subject to Clause 39 (2).

 

2)      Provided  that  the  consumer  can  substantiate  their  claim  by  producing evidence in support of their contention, they may recover amounts paid to  the  Service  Provider  from  the  date  the  error  either  occurred  or  was discovered by the consumer. The amount recovered by the consumer shall be no greater than the amount paid for a period no greater than  six (6) years.

 

  1. Verifying Bill Payment

 

 

Service Providers should ensure that consumers can verify their bill payments via, inter alia:

 

  1. a) Acknowledgement of payment on the next bill issued;

 

 

  1. b) Telephone confirmation by calling a specified number; or

 

 

  1. c) Such other methods as may be prescribed by Service Providers.

 

 

  1. Billing Inquiries

 

 

All  Service  Providers  must  provide  consumers  with  contact  information  for making a billing enquiry or lodging a billing complaint. The hours of operation for this service must also be clearly stated.

 

SECTION 5

 

  1. Credit and Debt Management

 

 

Requesting, Reviewing and Returning a Security Deposit

 

1)      Where  a  Service  Provider  requires  a  consumer  to  provide  them  with  a security deposit, the Service Provider must:

 

 

  1. a) Provide the consumer with an explanation of:

 

 

(i)     Whether or not the security deposit will accrue interest; (ii)    The refund of the security deposit;

(iii)   The circumstances under which the security deposit may accrue interest, be forfeited or repaid and where the security deposit accrues interest, the frequency with which such interest will be applied to the deposit; and

 

(iv)   The duration that it will be retained by the Service Provider.

 

 

  1. b) Upon the  termination  of  the  contract,  the  Service  Provider  must return  the  security  deposit,  with  interest  where  applicable,  to  the consumer,   retaining   only   any   amount        This   should   be completed no more than thirty (30) calendar days after the Service Provider  determines  that  the  consumer  has  satisfactorily  met  the terms of the security deposit arrangements.

 

2)      A Service Provider may apply the security deposit toward any amount that is past due and may require consumers to top up the security deposit if it is used to maintain the provision of service.

 

 

  1. Notification – Usage Limit

 

 

1)      A  Service  Provider  must  notify  a  consumer  at  least  once  each  time  the consumer reaches the following limits:

 

 

  1. a) Fifty percent (50%) of their usage limit; and

 

  1. b) Seventy-five percent (75%) of their usage limit; and c) One hundred percent (100%) of their usage limit.

 

2)      The notification must be issued no later than forty-eight (48) hours after the consumer has reached a specific limit within a single monthly billing period.

 

3)      Service   Providers   must   also   send   a   notification   to   the   consumer explaining:

 

 

  1. a) The charges  that  apply  once  100%  of  the  data  allowance  has been used;

 

  1. b) That the information may be up to 48 hours old; and

 

  1. c) That the  notification  only  applies  to  local  usage  charges  that have been incurred in Barbados.

 

 

  1. Platform-based Notifications

 

Service Providers must send the information mentioned in Clause 43 (1) above by  SMS,  e-mail  or  any  such  mechanisms  that  ensures  that  notifications  are delivered to the consumer in forty-eight (48) hours. A consumer may direct the mechanism by which such notification is received.

 

  1. Data Monitoring Tools

 

 

1)      Service  Providers  that  apply  out-of-plan  charges  or  overage  fees  must offer at least one (1) free tool to assist consumers in monitoring their data usage during a monthly billing cycle.

 

 

2)      All written information that Service Providers give to consumers about data usage must be drafted in plain and simple language.  This means that such information must be clear, accurate, free of material omissions and easily-understood.

 

  1. Notice to Restrict, Suspend or Disconnect Service

 

 

1)      Service Providers must notify the consumer before restricting, suspending or disconnecting service, except in cases where:

 

 

  1. a) It is necessary to take immediate action to protect the network from harm;

 

  1. b) The Service Provider reasonably suspects fraud or attempted fraud;

or

 

  1. c) The consumer’s  credit  limit  has  been  reached,  provided  that  the

consumer was previously made aware of this limit.

 

 

2)      In  all  other  instances,  Service  Providers  must  give  consumers  at  least three (3) calendar days’ notice before disconnection of service. The notice must contain the following information:

 

 

  1. a) The date of and reason for disconnection;

 

  1. b) The amount owing, if any; and

 

  1. c) The contact   information   for   a   department   with   whom   the disconnection may be discussed.

 

SECTION 6

 

 

 

  1. Complaints Handling

 

 

1)      All   Service   Providers   must   establish   internal   complaints   handling procedures for the benefit of consumers;

 

 

2)      A specific team of representatives who report directly to a senior manager must oversee the internal complaints handling procedure;

 

 

3)      All  complaints  received  by  a  Service  Provider  must  be  acknowledged within two (2) business days of receipt;

 

 

4)      All consumers must be advised of the Service Provider’s investigation and notified that a response will be provided in at least ten (10) business days of acknowledgment of the complaint;

 

 

5)      Where a Service Provider is aware that the complaint cannot be resolved in ten (10) business days, a new timeframe must be issued for completion of the investigation, before the end of the period; and

 

 

6)      Service Providers must offer a mechanism for the consumer to monitor the progress of a complaint.

 

 

  1. Contact Attempts

 

 

Where  a  Service  Provider  is  unable  to  contact  a  consumer  to  address  a complaint, they must write to the consumer and advise of the contact attempts, provide  details  of  those  contact  attempts  and  where  necessary,  invite  the consumer to discuss the complaint within no less than ten (10) business days.

 

 

  1. Frivolous Complaints

 

 

1)      When  a  Service  Provider  determines  that  a  complaint  is  frivolous  or vexatious and that the consumer cannot be further assisted, the consumer must be so advised.

 

2)      This notwithstanding, the consumer must be made aware of the option to

utilise the FTC’s external dispute resolution process.

 

 

3)      A Service Provider is not required to accept any further complaints from that consumer until or unless the external dispute resolution process is initiated.

 

 

  1. Record of Complaints

 

 

All  Service  Providers  must  record,  in  writing,  each  consumer  complaint received.  This record should include the consumer’s identity, the nature of the complaint, the steps taken to address the matter and the resolution if any.

 

 

  1. Administration

 

 

1)      A consumer who believes that their Service Provider is not adhering to the  Code  must  first  attempt  to  resolve  the  problem  directly  with  the Service  Provider.  If  the  consumer  is  not  satisfied  with  the   Service Provider’s response, they may contact the FTC;

 

2)      Where  the  FTC  investigates  a  breach  of  the  Code,  either  on  its  own initiative or on receipt of a consumer complaint,  and determines that a Service  Provider  has  breached  the  Code,  the  following  actions  may  be taken:

 

 

  1. a) The FTC may serve a copy of the findings of the investigation on the Service Provider   together   with   a   notice   requiring   the   Service Provider to:

 

 

(i)     Satisfy the finding or the complaint; or

 

(ii)    Respond to the findings in writing; within a reasonable time, which may be specified in the notice.

 

 

3)      Where the Service Provider fails to comply with the provisions above the FTC shall write to the Service Provider and notify it of non-compliance with the Code and give  it  a minimum of seven (7) days to remedy the breach;

 

 

4)       Service  Providers,  who  fail  to  remedy  the  breach  in  accordance  with Clause 51 (2) (a), will be notified in writing that the FTC may issue a Public Notice  advising  of  the  Service  Provider’s  non-compliance;  and  giving them a minimum of seven (7) days to remedy the breach.

 

 

5)      Where a Service Provider fails to comply with Clause 51(4) the FTC shall institute proceedings in the High Court.

 

SECTION 7

 

  1. Monitoring of Universal Code Issues and Breaches

 

 

1)      All  Service  Providers  are  required  to  provide  the  FTC  with  general information   pertaining   to   queries   and   complaints   received   from consumers about potential breaches of the Code on an annual basis.

 

 

2)      The information to be provided must aggregate and segment the number of telephone and written queries received pertaining to the Code annually, the nature of the complaints and the number resolved.

 

3)      Annual meetings of the Forum will be held to discuss any emerging issues arising from the Code, as highlighted by consumer complaints.

 

  1. Code Review

 

 

1)      The FTC may fix a period of time not exceeding five (5) years in respect of which the Code may apply.

 

2)      Notwithstanding Clause 53. 1) where the FTC determines that there has been such a fundamental change in circumstances as to warrant a review of the Code, the FTC may conduct such a review at any time provided that the said review is completed in consultation with the Forum.

 

  1. Code Review Criteria

 

 

For review purposes, the following criteria will be used to assess the success of the Code:

 

  1. a) Number of breaches of the Code;

 

  1. b) Number of complaints against signatories to the Code;

 

  1. c) Number of proposed amendments to the Code.

 

  1. d) Level of   awareness   of   the   Code   within   the   industry   and   amongst consumers and interested parties;

 

  1. e) Number of   complaints   received   by   the   FTC   and   other   relevant organisations; and

 

  1. f) Level of adherence to Code provisions.

 

 

  1. Amendment/Replacement of Code

 

 

The FTC may amend the Code on consultation with the Forum, from time to time.

 

 

 

The Forum includes, but is not limited to representatives from the following agencies:

 

 

  1. FTC
  2. FLOW
  3. Digicel
  4. Office of Public Counsel
  5. DCCA
  6. Telecommunications Unit
  7. BARP
  8. BNSI
  9. Consumer Representative
  10. NGO Consumer Representative

 

 

 

 

General Plan Information (sample)

 

 

Description of Plan                                      1500 minutes

 

1 Gigabyte (GB) of mobile data

 

Unlimited SMS

 

Duration of Contract                                    24 months

 

Credit Limit                                                   $600.00 (applies to voice, data, SMS)

 

Key Terms and Conditions                        Out-of-plan data is billed per megabyte.

The conversion rate is 1,024 MB =1 GB

 

Limitations of Use                                        Premium data, e.g. YouTube, Facebook WhatsApp, is NOT included in your plan. Premium    data    costs    60    cents    per

megabyte.

 

 

Pricing Information

 

 

Monthly Charge                                           $200.00

 

Early Termination Charges                        The    early    termination    fee    is    the minimum  monthly  charge  for  three

months of the contract or $225.00.

 

Local SMS Charges                                      $0.20 per message

 

Out-of-Plan Data Charges                          Data charges outside of your plan will be  higher  than  those  that  are  in  your plan.  The charge is $0.70 per Megabyte. Therefore, if you exceed your plan by 1

GB, you will have to pay an additional

charge of $716.80.

 

Out-of-Plan Voice charges                         Voice charges outside of your plan will be  higher  than  those  that  are  in  your plan.      These   charges   are   $0.50   per minute.  Therefore,  if  you  exceed  your plan  by  60  minutes,  you  will  have  to pay an additional charge of $30.00

 

Other Information

 

 

  1. Terms and   conditions   of   service   on   calls   and   data   are   available   at www.abcmobile.com.
  2. Guidelines on how to set usage alerts are available at www.abcmobile.com.
  3. Recommendations for the purchase of a roaming plan before travel to avoid high out-of-plan   charges.   Further   details   on   roaming   are   available   at www.abcmobile.com.
  4. The Mobile   Telecommunications   Code   2020   may   be   viewed   at   www. abcmobile.com/mtc2020

 

 

Consumer Service Details

 

  1. If you require assistance, contact our consumer service centre at 1-842-405-7765.
  2. To make a complaint, contact our complaints department at 454-0045 or lodge your complaint on our website at www.abcmobile.com

        Unhappy  with  the  outcome  of  your  complaint  to  ABC  Mobile?  You  may contact   the   Fair   Trading   Commission   by   calling  

 

Together All the Way | Digicel Barbados

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