The Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations,
Pakistan, Extraordinary, Part-II, 6th April,
S. R. O. 300(1)/2009.--- In exercise
of the powers conferred under clause (o) of sub-section (2) of section 5 read
with clause (c) and (m) of sub-section (1) of section 4 of the Pakistan
Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996 (Act XVII of 1996), the Authority
is pleased to make the following regulations:---
1. Short title and commencement--(1)
These regulations shall be called the “Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations,
(2) These Regulations shall be applicable from the date of
2. Scope and applicability.—These regulations shall apply to all
Operators to promote and protect the rights and interests of the Consumers of
telecommunication services in
3. Definitions.--(1) In this
regulations unless the context or subject otherwise requires:---
“Act” means Pakistan Telecommunication
(Re-organization) Act, 1996;
“Advertisement” means and includes the
following modes of marketing adopted by Operators to attract the Consumers:---
by displaying of notices, banners,
billboards, play cards etc.;
by means of catalogue, brochures,
by exhibition on films or photographs; or
by electronic or print media or through
any other means;
“Authority” means Pakistan
Telecommunication Authority established under section 3 of the Act;
“Code of Commercial Practice” means an
agreement of set of rules, which defines the behavior of Operators who undertake
to be bound by it in relation to one or more Commercial Practices;
“Commercial Practice” means any act,
omission, course of conduct, representation or commercial communication
(including advertising and marketing) by an Operator, which is directly
connected with the promotion, sale or supply of a Service in Consumers, whether
occurring before, during or after a commercial transaction in relation to a
“Consumer” means any natural or juristic
person who is in an actual or potential user of publicly available
telecommunication Services from an Operator and not the reseller of such
“Operator” means a license holder
authorized by the Authority to establish, operate and maintain the
telecommunication systems and to provide Service(s);
diligence” means the standard of special skill, care and conduct which an
Operator may reasonably be expected to exercise towards Consumers commensurate
with honest market practice or the general principle of good faith;
all or any regulations issued by Authority under provisions of the Act including
“Rules” means all or any rules issued by
the Federal Government under Section 57 of the Act;
“Service” means telecommunication service
as defined in the Act; and
“Transactional decision” means any
decision taken by a Consumer whether it is to act or to refrain from acting,
whether, how and on what terms to
purchase, make payment in whole or in part for, retain or dispose of the
whether, how and on what terms to exercise
a contruactual right in relation to a Service.
(2) The words and expressions used herein but not defined shall
have the same meanings as are respectively assigned to them in the Act and the
Service Providing, Interruption and Disconnection
4. Service Provisioning.--(1)
Consumers shall be able to select the Operator as well as the available Services
as per their own choice.
(2) The Services shall be provided to Consumers in a fair,
transparent, efficient and non-discriminatory manner.
5. Service Interruption.--(1)
Customers shall be entitled for uninterrupted Services at all times.
Provided that in case of planned network system
enhancements, updates or upgrades, the Consumer shall be given thirty (30) days
prior service interruption notice by the Operator.
Provided further that in the case of unforeseen
technical interruptions/faults the Operator shall inform the reasons for the
interruption and expected time of restoration of Services to the Consumers by
any means listed in sub-regulation (2) of regulation 7.
(2) Operators shall take all reasonable and necessary steps in
providing Consumers with adequate arrangements/concessions in case of lengthy
outages or Service interruption for which due notice was not served.
6. Withdrawal of Service.—Operators
may withdraw the provisions of any Service to Consumers, provided such
withdrawal is approved by the Authority and thirty (30) days prior notice is
given to Consumers.
7. Suspension and Disconnection of Service.--(1)
Subject to prior communication of suspension and disconnection policies to the
Consumer, an Operator may suspend or disconnect a rendered Service in accordance
with their policies.
(2) Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of
sub-regulation (1) above, Operators shall give fifteen (15) days prior notice to
Consumers in case of suspension or disconnection of Services, not less than once
by any of the following mans:---
Short Messaging Service.
Provided that the Operator shall clearly communicate the reaons
for suspension/disconnection to the Consumer along with the actions required on
the part of that Consumer to avoid such suspension / disconnection.
(3) The Operator shall not suspend or disconnect a Service to a
Consumer on account of which the Consumer has paid all the dues, even if the
Consumer has defaulted in the payment of the Operator in relation to some other
Provided that an Operator may suspend/disconnect all
connections of an individual Service to a Consumer, which are subscribed by that
Consumer in his own name and the default is not cleared for any one of such
(4) The Operator shall not deny access to emergency numbers to
Consumer, where the Service is suspended for any valid reason.
(5) The Operators shall restore Services to a Consumer within
twenty four (24) hours from when the Consumer has taken all remedial steps, to
the satisfaction of the Operator, in order to rectify the matter resulting in
such suspension or disconnection by the Operator.
8. Commercial Practices.--(1) Operators shall not use
unfair Commercial Practices wien selling Services to Consumers.
(2) A Commercial Practice shall be regarded as unfair if:---
it is contrary to the requirements of
it is a misleading action under provisions
of sub-regulation (3);
it is a misleading omission under
provisions of sub-regulation (4); and
it is listed in sub-regulation (5).
(3) A Commercial Practice is a misleading action if:---
(i) it contains false information, and is therefore
untruthful or in any way, including overall presentation, deceives or is likely
to deceive the average Consumer in relation to one or more of the matters listed
below, and it causes or is likely to cause him to take a Transactional Decision
that he would not have taken otherwise:---
a. the existence or nature of the Service;
b. the main characteristics of the Service, such as its
availability, validity, benefits, risks, after-sale consumer assistance,
complaint handling, date and method of provision, delivery, fitness for purpose,
usage, quantity, specification and results to be expected from its use;
c. the extent of Operator’s commitments and motives of
d. the tariff or the manner in which tariff is calculated
and the existence of a specified tariff advantage;
(4) A Commercial Practice is a misleading omission if, in its
factual context, taking account of all its features and circumstances and the
limitation of the communication medium, it omits, hides or provides in an
unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner such material information
that the average Consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed
Transactional Decision and thereby causes or is likely to cause the average
Consumer to take a Transactional Decision that he would not have taken
(5) The following Commercial Practices shall be regulated as
unfair in all circumstances:---
(i) Falsely claiming that a Service is able to facilitate
winning ingames of change; and
(ii) Requiring a Consumer who wishes to claim on a
insurance policy to produce documents which could not reasonably be considered
relevant as to whether the claim was valid, or failing systematically to respond
to pertinent correspondence, in order to dissuade a Consumer from exercising his
9. Code of Commercial Practice and Service Contracts.—(1)
The Operators, who are required to take approval of the Authority regarding Code
of Commercial Practice and standard contract of service under their respective
license, shall publish their Code of Commercial Practice and standard contract
of service for the information of Consumers.
(2) The unfair terms used in the contract concluded with a
Consumer by any Operator shall not be binding on the Consumer.
(3) Following is the indicative and non-exhaustive list of items,
which may be regarded as unfair if it has the object or effect of:---
inappropriately excluding or limiting the
legal rights of the Consumer against the Operator in the event of total or
partial non-performance or inadequate performance by the Operator of any
provision of the Service contract;
making an agreement binding on Consumer
whereas provision of Services by the Operator is subject to a condition whose
realization depend on his own will alone;
requiring any Consumer who fails to
fulfill his obligation to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation for
restoration/rectifying the breach;
authorizing the Operator to dissolve the
contract on a discretionary basis where the same right not granted to the
permitting the Operator to retain the sums
paid for Services that are not yet supplied by him and where it is the Operator
himself who dissolves the contract;
automatically extending a contract of
fixed duration without the consent of the Consumer;
irrevocably binding the Consumer to terms
with which he had not real opportunity of becoming acquainted before the
conclusion of the contract;
enabling the Operator to after the terms
of the contract unilaterally without a valid reason unless the Operator is
required to inform the Consumer with reasonable notice and the Consumer is free
to dissolve the contract;
providing the tariff of Services to be
determined at the time of delivery, or allowing the Operator to increase the
tariff without giving the Consumer the corresponding right to cancel the
contract if the tariff is deemed too high by the Consumer;
obliging the Consumer to fulfill all his
obligations where the Operator does not perform his;
giving the Operator the possibility of
transferring his rights and obligations under the contract where this may serve
to reduce the guarantees for the Consumer without his agreement; and
exclude or hindering the Consumer’s right
to take legal action or exercise any other legal remedy, particularly by
requiring the Consumer to take disputes exclusively to arbitration which are not
covered by legal provisions, unduly restricting the evidence available to him or
imposing a burden of proof which according to the applicable law is not valid or
should lie with another part to the contract.
(4) The Authority may, on its own or on the request of
Consumer(s) or Operator(s), review the terms and conditions of the Code of
Commercial Practice and service contract.
(5) Subject to the approval of the Authority, the Operators may
also amend the terms of the Code of Commercial Practice and conditions of the
10. Tariff and Billing.--(1)
The Operators shall ensure:---
that no Advertisement shall be launched or
tariff shall be charged for any Service to Consumers without approval of the
Authority, if such approval is required.
that Consumers know the exact costs for
all Services prior to purchase, clearly expressed without any false or
misleading information; explicitly disclosing the tariff rates, unit of
charging, applicable taxes etc. in their Advertisements;
that the effective tariffs for all
Services are in accordance with the tariffs as published in Advertisements;
that in any even, not to pre-activate any
tariff on Consumer, optional in nature, without the consent of that Consumer.
(2) All Operators shall provide detailed billing information to
their Consumers in accordance with license terms and conditions,
Regulations/Directives issued by the Authority, Code of Commercial Practice and
service contract as approved by the Authority.
Redressal of Consumer Grievances
11. Nature of complaints.—Notwithstanding
anything contained in any procedure provided in any law for the time being in
force, all Operators shall entertain complaints of Consumers in relation to any
Service, including but not limited to the following issues:---
Misuse of Service
Quality of Service
Provision of Service
Non-Provision of Service
Mobile Number Portability related
12. Complaint Handling Mechanism.--(1)
All complaints, at the first instance, shall be filed with the Operator against
whom the complaint has any grievance.
(2) For the purpose of stated above, every Operator shall
establish and maintain a Consumer complaint handling mechanism.
(3) The complaint handling mechanism shall be widely published
and responsive to Consumer complaints in a comprehensive and effective manner.
13. Modes of filing complaints with Operator.--(1)
Every Operator shall establish a round the clock Consumer care call center
having a dedicated helpline number for lodging of Consumer complaints.
Provided where a complaint chooses to lodge a
complaint in writing through a facsimile, e-mail, internet webpage form or the
post, guidance in this regard shall Cti be
extended by the Operator through the consumer manual.
(2) The charges for Consumers when accessing the helpline number
shall not be exceed the tariff determined by the Authority.
14. Procedure for handling of complaints.—(1)
Upon receipt of every Consumer complaint, the Operator must register the said
complaint to the complainant through the allocation of a unique complaint
number, to be communicated to the complainant along with the specific timeframe
within which the Operator shall redress Consumer grievance as soon as possible
but not later than three working days.
(2) An easy to access escalation path shall be set up by the
Operator, if required by the Authority, to be followed by the complainant where
the complainant is not satisfied with the redress of the complaint or where no
response has been received from the Operator when such complaint is lodged at
the first level with the Operator.
15. Complaints.--(1) In the event
that the complaint is not satisfied with the redressal of the complaint provided
by the Operator, including but not limited to instances where the Operator fails
to respond under sub-regulation (2) of regulation 14 to the complaint within
three working days, the complainant shall then file the complaint with the
Authority as specified in sub-regulation (2).
(2) All complaints under these Regulations shall be registered
with the Consumer Protection Directorate, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
Headquarters, Islamabad or its Zonal offices where applicable by the Consumers
personally or through their representative(s) by post, courier, online or email
at email@example.com in the manner specified in sub-regulation (3).
(3) Complaints to be filed under sub-regulation (2) of regulation
15 of these Regulations must include, at minimum, the following:---
the name and address of the complainant;
the name and address of the Operator
against whom the Consumer has grievances;
the nature of complaint and brief
statement of facts;
a copy of service contract or agreement
pertaining to the complaint, if available;
proof of previous
correspondence/complaints filed with the Operator; and
specific relief or remedy sought.
(4) Upon receipt of every Consumer complaint, the Consumer
Protection Directorate or respective Zonal office will acknowledge the said
complaint as soon as possible but not later than three (3) working days through
the allocation of a unique complaint number to be communicated to the
(5) Upon admission of the complaint, the same shall be forwarded
by the Consumer Protection Directorate or the concerned Zonal office to the
Operator for resolution of the same or for reply in writing, as the case may be.
(6) The Operator shall communicate the redressal status report of
the complaint, as directed by the Authority, simultaneously to the concerned
Consumer and the Authority within the time limit as specified by the Authority.
(7) Where the Operator is required to submit its reply on a given
complaint, the Consumer Protection Directorate or the concerned Zonal office, as
the case may be, shall examine the Operator’s reply and dispose off
the complaint with issuing appropriate order.
(8) If no reply is received from the Operator within the given
deadline, the Consumer Protection Directorate or concerned Zonal office, as the
case may be, may call the Operator and/or the Consumer for a hearing and shall
pass an order accordingly, which shall be binding on both the parties.
(9) In the event that a complaint filed under sub-regulation (2)
of Regulation 15 reveals general deficiency or systemic inadequacy in the
provision of Services adopted by the Operator, the Operator shall take remedial
steps in respect of all Consumers and intimate the same to the Authority.
(10) Without prejudice to the foregoing the Authority may on its
own, initiate appropriate action against the Operator, for any activity or
activities directly or indirectly, adversely affecting the interest of the
16. Confidentiality of Information.--All
Operators or employees of Operators shall maintain confidentiality of
information about Consumers and shall ensure that no information about Consumers
use of network or Service is made available to any third person other than what
is printed and published in services directories, agreed by the Consumer or
required by any applicable law.
17. Publication of Consumer’s mannual.--(1)
All Operators shall publish a consumer’s manual and shall advertise the same,
through print or electronic media, within ninety (90) days of the notification
of these Regulations, which shall contain the following details:---
customer services helpline;
pre-requisite for new connection;
applicable tariff and charges;
quality of services standards; and
procedure for resolution of complaints.
Provided that all Operators commencing Services after the
notification of these Regulations shall implement the conditions of
sub-regulation (1) within 90 days of commencement of Services.
(2) The manual under sub-regulation (1) of regulation 17 shall be
available at all outlets of the Operators and accessible to Consumers on the
Operator’s website which shall be updated from time to time.
(3) Operators shall after the notification of these Regulations
include the consumer manual with every sale of their Service.
18. Directions of the Authority.--All
directives, guidelines and orders etc., issued by the Authority in pursuance of
these Regulations shall be binding on the Operator and the Consumers.
19. Force Majeure.--In an even or
circumstances which is beyond the reasonable control of the Operator including,
without limitation, acts of God, insurrection or civil disorder, war or military
operations, national or local emergency, acts or omissions of government, or of
any competent authority, industrial disputes of any kind, fire, lightning,
explosion, flood, weather of exceptional severity, acts or omissions of person
for whom the Operator is not responsible, strikes, lock outs the Operator shall
not accountable for that period to a Consumer with respect to any Service
Director (Law & Regulations).