TRAI asks RCom to refund unspent balance and security deposit to customers

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday directed Reliance Communications (RCom) to refund the unspent balance of prepaid mobile subscribers and security deposit of postpaid subscribers, pursuant to the closure of 2G GSM, CDMA and discontinuation of voice services in all the licensed services areas, by January 31.

Pursuant to the closure of 2G GSM and CDMA services and discontinuation of voice services, large number of complaints have been received at TRAI from the subscribers of RCL and RTL, who have either ported out or still not ported out from their network, regarding refund of balance amount left with the RCL or RTL (as applicable) in the form of recharges or vouchers, plans in their prepaid mobile account and non-refund of security deposits for the post paid mobile accounts,” the TRAI said in a statement.

RCom closed its 2G services in eight circles and CDMA services in nine circles in December last year. TRAI had earlier asked RCom to smoothen the process of customers wanting to exit the carrier’s network in circles where it switched off services from December 1 and to keep the unique porting codes (UPCs) active till end-January, following complaints about the company’s customers facing problems in porting out.

In the normal course of MNP, the balance prepaid amount is generally utilised by the prepaid subscribers before deciding to port out their mobile number. However, premature closure of services has forced large number of mobile subscribers of RCL and RTL to port out or lose their mobile numbers and leave behind their unspent prepaid balance amount and security deposit with RCL and RTL, it said.
“In order to facilitate the refund of security deposit of its post paid subscriber, RCL and RTL have been directed to refund the security deposits of all the post paid subscribers, within prescribed time frame,” TRAI said.

For prepaid subscribers, RCL and RTL have been directed to refund of the unspent balance as per some methods that include refunding the unspent balance to prepaid subscribers ported out, RCL and RTL have been directed to prepare list of all the prepaid subscribers ported out, recipient operator wise, indicating against each subscriber the un-spent balance in their account at the time of porting and transfer such unspent amount to the recipient operator along with the list, it said.

“The recipient operator shall credit the refund amount received from RCL and or RTL to individual accounts of the subscribers and intimate the same to such subscribers through SMS,” TRAI said in its direction. Refund of unspent balance to prepaid subscribers not ported out – the companies have been directed to obtain bank details form the subscribers along with IFS Code and refund the unspent balance electronically, into the bank accounts of the subscribers by the February 15, after verifying the credentials of the subscribers based on the submitted proof of identity and proof of address.

Another method include refund of unspent balance to prepaid subscribers who neither ported out nor submitted the bank information or claim for refund by means of a crossed cheque at their postal address, TRAI added.

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