March 15 is the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD). The chosen date marks the day of 1962 when US President John F. Kennedy delivered a historic address to the US Congress in which he outlined four basic consumer rights: to be informed, to choose, to safety and right to be heard.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind all consumers that protection of consumer rights and dissemination of knowledge on their rights and obligations as the telecommunications market participants constitute one of the priorities of the President of UKE’s policy. Only complex and integrated activities aimed at eliminating undesirable market practices, together with informational and educational activities can strengthen consumers' position.
UKE operates the Consumer Information Centre (CIK), where every consumer may obtain advice by calling a special dedicated CIK hotline (801-900-853). Consumers are provided with free information and legal advice from qualified employees, which has a direct influence on the level of their awareness concerning their rights and obligations. The number of calls directed to CIK proves that there is a need for this form of consultation, advice and support to consumers. In 2015 CIK employees answered over 1500 calls with requests for advice.
Consumers may also take advantage of the information concerning the range of telecommunications services published on a website dedicated to them. The website contains i.a. information on the means of redress in disputes with telecommunications services providers, advice concerning number portability and protection against unfair practices of commercial agents, as well as guidebooks:
• Guide for consumers - telecommunications services
• Guide for the safe use of electronic communications means in cyberspace
• Threats of using the Premium Rate services
• Guide for the safe use of mobile devices connected to the Internet
The guidebooks can serve as a sort of consumer knowledge compendium, where UKE informs - in a clear and readily understandable way - about consumer rights, indicates where and how to seek redress, where to look for help, or warns against threats which consumers may face when using telecommunications services.
In order to reach as many consumers as possible - potential or actual users of telecommunications services - the Office issues also information leaflets for consumers, concerning various topics, such as:
• well-informed conclusion of contracts with operators;
• procedures for complaints about telecommunications services;
• Premium Rate SMS;
• the principles for porting telephone numbers to another operator's network;
• roaming charges for calls made within the European Union.
It should not be forgotten that the main activity of the President of UKE within the framework of consumer support system, including legal support for consumer, is to undertake interventions - on request or ex-officio - in cases concerning the functioning of the telecommunications services market, and to conduct mediations.
Already at the beginning of this year, the President of UKE informed that in 2015 the Office considered 5223 requests for intervention of the President of UKE, 4078 (78.08%) of which have been resolved in favour of end-user. In addition, within the last year the President of UKE conducted 2406 mediation proceedings, 1476 (61.35%) of which have been resolved in favour of consumer.
Regardless of all the undertaken activities aimed at consumer protection, it cannot be forgotten that each and every person having full capacity to perform legal acts bears responsibility for her/his declarations of will. Therefore, consumers should conclude agreements with caution, choose offers tailored to their individual needs, and keep perspective when it comes to commercial information and advertisements. It is in the interest of the signatory to conclude an agreement that is beneficial for her/him.