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Fix Our Phone Rights!

To mark World Consumer Rights Day, Consumer International (CI) launched a new Consumer Agenda for Fair Mobile Services.
The agenda sets out the issues that mostly affect consumers, including the need for access to a reliable service, the security of their data and fair contracts
and billing.

CI will submit the Agenda to the World Telecommunications Development Conference, held by the International Telecommunications Union, where we
will be calling on phone regulators and companies to take action to stop these issues undermining the success of this new technology.
Ringing in the changes Can you imagine a world without mobile phones? In just a few years they have become an indispensable part of our lives and can be found in almost every country around the world.
But as the number of consumers using mobile services nears seven billion, what sort of service are they receiving?
Are they being treated fairly? Our 2014 World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) campaign Fix Our Phone Rights! is devoted to tackling the issues that mostly affect consumers of mobile services.

Why Phone Rights are important

In 2013 it was estimated that 6.8 billion people owned a mobile phone. In 2011 that figure was 6 billion and in 2010 it was 5.4 billion.
At the same time, mobile services have transformed from just being telephones that enable us to talk and text, to mini computers giving us access to information
and services that are crucial to livelihoods and health. They are not just convenient, but increasingly important tools that help to empower citizens and consumers. Having access to mobile connectivity is a necessity.

CI’s agenda for Phone Rights

CI’s Consumer Agenda for Fair Mobile Services addresses the issues that affect mobile consumers across the world, and we hope every CI Member and
Supporter can join the call. Some of the issues we want to address are:

    1. Provide consumers with access to an affordable, reliable service. Consumers want to be able to have access to affordable mobile services in order to communicate and to access information. It is only reasonable that they then expect those services to be consistent and of a high quality without drop outs in service.
    2. Provide consumers with fair contracts explained in clear, complete and
      accessible language. Consumers often feel cheated by their mobile provider, either because of unfair contract terms and conditions or because they didn’t understand what they had signed. Telecom providers should always provide consumers with fair contracts with all relevant information explained clearly so that consumers can exercise their rights to make informed choices.
    3. Provide consumers with fair and transparent billing. Consumers shouldn’t be billed for services they didn’t request. We demand fairness and transparency in our bills, and protection from billing fraud.
    4. Provide consumers with security and power over their own information. Telecom providers and regulators alike must protect the personal data that consumers give up in order to use mobile services. Whilst giving consent to use personal data can enhance the experience of using a mobile phone, it can also compromise the consumer’s right to safety. Consumers must be able to set the terms of how this data is used.
    5. Listen and respond to consumer complaints. Telecom providers should have effective complaints systems and if consumers are not satisfied there should be redress mechanisms to ensure a fair outcome. We must be able to penalise providers for abusive and unjust business practices.