Senate bill requires telcos to provide refund mechanism for service outages
MANILA, Philippines — A bill mandating telecommunication companies to provide a refund mechanism for service outages and disruptions has been filed in the Senate.
Senator Lito Lapid filed Senate Bill No. 2092, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7925 or the Public Telecommunications Policy of the Philippines.
“For an Internet-dependent, data-driven world where almost all aspects of our daily life rely on being ‘online’ and ‘connected,’ service outages, disruptions and interruptions cause discomfort, lost opportunities, or worse, lost profits and income,” Lapid said in the bill’s explanatory note read.
“Nationwide outages had even disrupted Senate committee hearings. In fact, data from a website monitoring real-time status and outage information revealed that for a single day, reports of outages for certain Philippine internet service providers (ISPs) peaked to as high as 50 outages,” it added.
Despite the frequency of service outages and disruptions, Lapid noted that consumers “foot the bill for their monthly or pre-paid internet subscriptions without adjustments or refunds for such occurrences.”
“[T]hey are paying for a service that they have not enjoyed or used for hours, if not, even days through no fault on their part,” he added.
Under the bill, public telecommunication entities and internet service providers (ISPs) are required to provide, on a pro-rated basis, a refund credit to a customer, or adjust a customer’s bill, who has experienced a service outage or disruption for an aggregate period of 24 hours or more within a month.
The refund or bill adjustment mandated under this proposed measure shall likewise be granted to customers subscribing to a service on a prepaid basis, according to the bill.
The refund credit or bill adjustment shall be automatically implemented “without the need of any action or request on the part of the affected customer.”
“The principle behind this measure is quite simple—that there is no unjust enrichment on the part of big businesses to the prejudice of consumers,” Lapid said.
“Not even a single centavo shall be paid out of the pockets of our people for a service that they did not use due to an outage or disruption,” he added.
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