PTA Bans Prize Schemes through Amendment in Consumer Protection Regulations

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has amended the provisions of Telecommunication Consumer Protection Regulations (2009) to further protect consumer interests.

Regulations are aimed at providing a better mechanism with regard to launch of commercial practices or telecommunication promotional schemes by operators.

According to new law, operators now have to inform PTA at least 10 working ahead of launching any new commercial schemes.

The operators are now limited to offer incentives like air time etc rather than lucky draws for cars, gold or cash etc. Masking of numbers, which was being used by illegal marketers, and auto opt in schemes have been disallowed according to the new regulation.

PTA may alter, restrict, suspend or impose sanction on any commercial activity or telecommunication service promotional scheme if deemed necessary and operator will be responsible to provide title and key features of such activities to PTA.

Each operator will be responsible to provide an undertaking that the commercial practice and telecom promotional schemes are in compliance with the Act, Rules, Regulations and all other laws of Pakistan.

Operators are allowed to offer incentives in shape of  service related benefit, free or additional services and discounts on services or features

Operator, as per new regulations, will be responsible to provide a complete details to PTA about the promotion, including type of the incentives allocated to be distributed to the qualifying consumers, parameters/benchmarks for determining winners and details of mechanism, place and date for selection of qualifying consumers.

Furthermore, under the new regulation, an undertaking regarding inclusion of key features of the offered telecom promotional schemes in print media which shall be published in at least one national and local-language newspaper each as well as on the licensee’s, website in a clear, transparent and nondiscriminatory manner.

PTA has said that amended version of “Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations (2009)” is aimed to further safeguard the consumer rights and interests.

After the amendments in the regulation it is expected that, now telecom consumers can approach telecom operators for protection from unwanted and fraudulent communication and operators are required to facilitate these consumers under these regulations.