Consumer-oriented policy remains one of the most important pillars in the strategy of the President of the Office of Electronic Communications.
The number and type of telecommunications services available on the Polish market is gradually increasing, and complex provisions in the rules and regulations, tariff pages and promotions of many operators can be connected with problems encountered by consumers.
These problems to a high extent result from irregularities on the part of some telecommunications service operators, unfair commercial practices of commercial agents, as well as a lack of prudence and limited trust on customer's part. The scale of these phenomena is still high, which is confirmed by the number of requests for intervention with service providers submitted by aggrieved consumers to the President of UKE.
In the 1st half of 2016 subscribers of telecommunications services submitted 2,557 requests for intervention, 81.64% of which were resolved in favour of consumers. Each request required a number of actions which comprised, among others, obtaining explanations from the provider of telecommunications services, examination of factual and legal state, as well as undertaking intervention or providing explanation to the requestor. Each time the experts of UKE had consumer interests in mind and were striving to reach a positive outcome of the case.
The number of requests for intervention should be supplemented with 1,296 requests for mediation, 55.56% of which were concluded with an agreement between the subscriber and the provider of telecommunications services. Moreover, in the 1st half of 2016 1,170 queries were submitted to the Office of Electronic Communications. Individual queries concerned functioning of the telecommunications services market, binding legal regulations and other issues and problems encountered by consumers when using fixed-line telephony, mobile telephony and internet.
The most common problems faced by subscribers in the telecommunications services market were as follows:
- misleading subscribers by commercial agents when concluding contracts, suspected forgery - forging signatures on contracts;
- failure to meet by telecommunications undertakings the terms and conditions of service provision in the case of extended contracts;
- quality of provided services - data transmission speed lower than declared, lack of coverage and telecommunications network failures;
- Premium Rate Services.
An important element of the Office activity is running the Consumer Information Centre and helpline for consumers, operating at 801 900 853. Employees of the Office helpline answer consumers' questions concerning telecommunications services, provide advice and clarify any doubts regarding consumer rights. In the 1st half of 2016 UKE experts answered 7,500 calls.
All irregularities on the telecommunications services providers' part are thoroughly examined by the President of UKE not only as regards compliance with the binding law, but also in respect of ensuring services of the best possible quality to the consumers.
In 2016, taking into consideration safety of the youngest users of services and observing online threats to which minors are particularly vulnerable, the President of UKE has initiated an education and information campaign "My smartphone, my little world - I click sensibly" addressed to children, parents and guardians. The basic goal of the campaign is to promote children's safety online, and prevention through education of children who use available technologies and devices more and more often and without limits. The campaign is also aimed at drawing parents and teachers' attention to threats that children face or may face on the internet. In the 1st quarter of 2016 special lessons for 320 pupils were held under the campaign in two primary schools: one in Biała Podlaska and one in Siemianowice Śląskie. These lessons initiated a series of meetings with the youngest users of telecommunications services that the President of UKE intends to carry out within the campaign.