Throughout the years of 1995-2015, we have worked hard in claiming, investigating and restoring consumer rights in the Telecommunications sector. At the same time, we have strived to reform the legislative framework, placing focus on the incorporation and implementation of community directives. Nevertheless, the legal framework needs to be brought further into the modern world, so that telecommunications service providers are obliged to operate with transparency, legitimacy and respect towards consumer rights. The main issues that consumers report to us are the unjustified and abusive charges, the bad quality of provided services, the inadequate pre-contractual information and the overdue accounts. As part of our work in this sector, we have accomplished the following:
In 2013, we filed a collective claim for false advertising against the company Nova-Forthnet. This company’s advertisement was promising a fixed Telephone, Internet and TV package that included unlimited calls, whereas the actual contract for this plan did not contain such a clause. The Court ruled against Nova-Forthnet by finding the advertisement to be misleading and, as a result, ordered compensation for moral damages. Furthermore, in 1997, we launched court proceedings against the then mobile operator Telestet. The litigation resulted in favoring EKPIZO while ruling against a series of abusive general terms & conditions and preventing their use by other companies.
Legal Support Programme in relation to Telecommunications
In 2012, we implemented the programme known as Consumer Legal Support in relation to Telecommunications and Private Insurance, which lasted for 6 months and was funded by the Operational Programme of Attica and the European Regional Development Fund. This programme was the result of the realization that the sector of telecommunications has, for many years, received the most complaints right after banks and private insurances, thus, making accurate information and consumer support essential. During the programme, we handled 150 consumer complaints, where we provided accurate information and mediated in solving the issues. At the same time, we processed significant statistics pertaining to problems that arise from the sector of telecommunications.
Activation of the supervisory mechanism for imposing administrative fines
In 2011 and 2014, the General Secretariat for Trade and Consumer Protection, formerly known as the General Secretariat for Consumers, imposed fines worth hundreds of thousands of euros on large mobile & fixed telephony companies for misleading advertising, unfair commercial practices and for non-transparent contractual terms. This could not have happened, had it not been for the individual consumer support, our incessant collective interventions, our proposals, announcements and application of pressure to the competent state bodies. Furthermore, in 2012, the National Telecommunications & Post Commission imposed fines worth millions of euros on the three major Greek mobile phone companies for charging excessively for Internet services via mobile phone.
Our participation in the consultation on legislative reform and the establishment of fair legislation
We managed to modernize the relevant legislation on this sector, and its improved implementation through our documented proposals, interventions, as well as, through our frequent annual contribution in the European Commission’s steps for monitoring the application of Community legislation in our domestic market and our participation in working groups for developing Community directives on the sector of telecommunications. However, the most important step towards achieving modernization in the supply of telecommunication services within the EU will be the impending abolition of roaming charges, as of 2017.
Continuous provision of information to consumers via:
- Announcements in the press, magazines, etc. as well as, through our media coverage
- Speeches, Meetings, Conferences