Checking the end date of subscription contracts via SMS becomes increasingly difficult – Telia also reduces access to the service
As from 1 January 2022, telecommunications operators have been required to provide consumers with an opportunity to check the end date of their fixed-term mobile subscription contracts via a text message (SMS). Now Telia Finland Oyj (Telia) has made it more difficult for its customers to check the end date of their fixed-term contracts quickly and easily via an SMS service. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom considers Telia to be violating the law, just as DNA Plc (DNA) has done before.
As from the beginning of this year, consumers have been able to check the duration of their fixed-term mobile subscription contracts by sending the message ‘SOPIMUS’ (or ‘ABONNEMANG’ in Swedish) to the number 18321. The service will immediately send a response with the end date of the fixed-term contract in question. Alternatively, the response message will inform the consumer if he or she has a rolling contract that is valid for an indefinite period. Consumers can use the service, for example, if they receive an offer from another telecommunications operator and consider changing service providers.
DNA implemented its service in a manner that Traficom did not consider to meet the requirements laid down by law. Traficom issued a binding decision on the matter and enforced the decision with a notice of a conditional fine. DNA took the matter to the Administrative Court, but the court rejected DNA's appeal. DNA has applied for a leave to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court. The application is currently being considered by the Court.
Telia changes is service for checking contract duration – new model in violation of the law
Telia has now also decided to change its service for checking the duration of subscription contracts. Its SMS service no longer provides details about whether a customer has a fixed-term contract. In the new model, customers are primarily adviced to check their contract details online in the account management portal Minun Telia. Customers may also use Telia’s other sales and customer service channels. Telia has justified the change by the fact that telecommunications operators have not been able to find a common technical solution for implementing the service, which has lead to the distortion of competition with respect to number portability.
“The purpose of the service for checking contract details is to promote competition by giving all consumers an easy and quick way to check the duration of their current fixed-term contracts free of charge. It is unfortunate that Telia has also decided to undermine customers’ right to check the end dates of their subscription contracts,” says Deputy Director-General Jenni Eskola.
Traficom supervises that telecommunications operators provide the service as required by the law.
Traficom will initiate a procedure to issue a supervision decision also to Telia, because Traficom considers Telia’s action to violate the relevant legal and regulatory provisions.
Mari Österberg, Head of Services, tel. +358 29 539 0545, firstname.lastname@example.org
Petri Lehikoinen, Director, tel. +358 29 539 0453, email@example.com
Previous news articles:
Consumers' right to check the duration of fixed-term contracts not realised in an easy and quick manner in the service provided to DNA’s customers – Traficom imposes a conditional fine to ensure correct implementation (2 February 2022, in Finnish and Swedish) (in Finnish and Swedish)