In 2020, 19% more subscribers complained about content services schemes to the NCCIR* than in 2019. In particular, these are jokes, SMS horoscopes, dating clubs, and many other services that mobile operators charge for without the knowledge of subscribers.
This is according to the NCCIR’s data obtained by BRDO experts in response to a request for complaints about content services.
In 2016, the NCCIR received 18 complaints about content services; in 2017 – 413; in 2018 – 549; in 2019 – 481; and in 2020 – 572.
According to the NCCIR report, they received 4,812 complaints from citizens regarding the provision of mobile services in 2020. Content services account for 12% of these complaints.
“Operators are not ready to stop activating the services (that users deliberately did not order) for their subscribers. Unfortunately, prepaid subscribers do not actually have any effective protection of their rights,” Ihor Samokhodskyi, ICT Sector Head at BRDO, said.
According to him, today it is extremely important to protect subscribers. For this purpose, it is necessary to approve amendments to the Rules for the Provision and Receipt of Telecommunications Services. The draft decision that will resolve the situation has been considered for more than a year and a half — mobile operators are deliberately delaying the process. Currently, the document is being approved by the State Regulatory Service. It provides for obligatory notification of subscribers when they are charged, compliance with the law on e-commerce and other mechanisms to protect consumers.
It should be reminded that the BRDO submitted a formal appeal to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Digital Transformation, and the Office of the President of Ukraine regarding violations of consumer rights in the provision of content services and the need to address this problem immediately. It is estimated that Ukrainian subscribers lose hundreds of millions of hryvnias due to content service schemes.
*NCCIR — the National Commission for State Regulation of Communications and Informatization