Mobile giants slapped with B22bn suits

Mobile giants slapped with B22bn suits

Consumer rights advocacy networks have filed suits against the country's three largest mobile operators demanding 22 billion baht in compensation for rounding up excess seconds used by customers into extra minutes.

Chalermphong Klubdee, head of the Foundation of Consumers' legal centre, said Wednesday the centre has brought three class-action lawsuits against Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Corporation to the Civil Court on May 15.

The first trial is scheduled to take place on June 25, he told a press conference held at the Foundation for Consumers.

The move came after the three mobile operators failed to comply with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's (NBTC) resolution in May last year which bans operators from rounding up excess seconds into extra minutes.

The NBTC ordered operators to calculate their mobile phone fees based on the actual service period used by customers.

Somchai Armeen, chairman of the Legal Rights and Environmental Protection Association, said even though the alleged mobile phone fees would cause damages of only about 400 baht per person, the loss was huge as around 90 million mobile phone numbers were run by the three providers.

Of the total number, 41 million are operated by AIS, 23 million by DTAC and 24 million by True.

Mr Somchai was also confident the networks would win the cases due to the explicit order from the NBTC.

The groups also asked the court to seek five times the compensation amount as the damage occurred before the NBTC's order.

Commenting on the issue, foundation secretary-general Saree Ongsomwang said Wednesday the agency has intensified efforts to call on mobile operators and relevant agencies including the NBTC to conform to the resolution.

However, its efforts failed and customers have still been exploited by the operators. Therefore, the foundation decided to seek help from other legal and consumer rights agencies to pursue legal action against the three companies.

Ms Saree said two key plaintiffs, representing customers who used prepaid and postpaid mobile services, were allotted for each case.

She also said it was difficult for prepaid clients to request their call detail records, which would be used as evidence in the court from the operators.

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