On 30 January 2014, the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (“TRA”) introduced ‘new’ Consumer Protection Regulations (“Regulations”).
The Regulations repeal several policies (set out below) with the aim of streamlining each of these policies into one to provide an umbrella framework which will govern the conditions, level and scope of service to be provided by all licensees of the TRA (“Licensees”) to their respective subscribers. In this article, we provide a general overview of the Regulations and highlight some of their key aspects.
The Consumer Protection Regulations repeal the following TRA policies:
Note that the Unsolicited Electronic Communications Policy (“Spam Policy”) dated 30 December 2009, remains in full force. The operation of the Regulations does not impact on the Spam Policy.
Key aspects of the Regulations include:
1. Provision of information to consumers
At the outset, the Regulations require all Licensees to take all reasonable steps to ensure that consumers make informed decisions. To this end, the Regulations mandate the provision of accurate and complete information, including:
2. Confidentiality of subscriber information
Recognising the importance of maintaining the privacy of subscriber information, the Regulations require all Licensees to use reliable security measures in order to safeguard and prevent the unauthorised disclosure or use of subscriber information. Generally, the Regulations require Licensees to:
The TRA is entitled to visit the premises of the Licensee (or its affiliate(s)) where subscriber information is stored to review the security measures taken by the Licensee to maintain the security of subscriber information.
3. Marketing communications and practices
In addition to the Spam Policy generally prohibiting unauthorised electronic marketing communications, the Regulations set out further requirements regarding marketing communications and practices. In summary, the Regulations provide that marketing communications should not:
Note that the Regulations also contain separate sections addressing marketing communications aimed at specific audiences or in respect of specific topics (children and prize promotions, for example).
4. Complaints and dispute handling
A large number of the provisions contained in the Regulations deal with consumer complaints and disputes handling. Generally, the Regulations provide that Licensees must:
Al Tamimi & Company’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications team regularly advises on consumer protection issues. For further information about these matters, please contact Anita Siassios,.