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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Lawmaker wants mobile phone subscribers to provide a customer billing report on a daily basis
Writer: Lorelei V. Castillo, Media Relations Service-PRIB
27 August 2012 08:35:05 AM

A lawmaker has filed a bill mandating cellular phone service providers to provide individual end-users, post paid and pre-paid, a daily customer billing report.

"In doing so, this will protect the welfare of each end-user as consumers and shield them from deceptive, unfair and unconscionable acts and practices," said Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Lone District, Marinduque), author of House Bill 6335.

In filing the bill, Velasco cited the declared policy of the State which recognizes the ubiquity of cellular communications use as well as its impact on the social, economic and even political aspects of the nation.

"The State also recognizes the need to protect the welfare of each end-user as consumers, shield them from deceptive, unfair and unconscionable acts and practices, provide information and education to facilitate sound choices and the proper exercise of rights by the consumers," Velasco said.

According to Velasco, at the level of the consumers, the need for their protection is recognized particularly with respect to the transparency of the costs that they have incurred for the services rendered by the cellular service providers.

"It is common practice among such providers that a monthly statement is sent to the end-user. However, such statement is limited only to post-paid subscribers and provide only for a general summary of the services rendered by the companies," Velasco said.

Velasco said this imbalance of information bestowed upon the individual consumer leaves room for the big firms to possibly carry out insidious machinations to beef up their profit or indirectly transfer to the consumers the dues that they themselves should be accountable.

Velasco said the use of cellular and mobile telecommunications have become one of the major tools of the common person to connect and communicate.

He added that this reality not only ingrained in present society the significance of these communication tools, but also created a multi-million dollar industry.

"Notwithstanding the advantages, there is an apparent disparity of power between the cellular service providers, represented by huge corporation, and the end-users as lowly consumers," Velasco said.

The bill recognizes the need for the end-users of cellular services to be regularly informed of their individual billing reports in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 7925 otherwise known as the "Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines."

Under the measure, all cellular phone service providers are mandated to provide the individual end-users, post-paid and pre-paid, a customer billing report on a daily basis which shall include the number of calls made; number of text messages made; average and maximum call length; summary of cost of each call or message made and total cost payable for the day.

The report shall be delivered in "short-messaging service" (SMS) form to the individual end-users by their respective service providers.

The bill directs the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to formulate the implementing rules and regulations.

A cellular service provider who violates the provisions of the proposed act shall be penalized with a fine of P500,000 for the first offense; P1 million for the second offense and P5 million for the third offense.