Press Releases

ANCOM Fines RCS & RDS with RON 300,000 for Failing to Inform the Subscribers on the Introduction of the Maintenance Fee for Fixed Telephony


“ANCOM has fined RCS & RDS with RON 300,000 for not having notified its subscribers, individually, on the introduction of a maintenance fee amounting to RON 5, for the fixed telephone service, and for not having amended its framework-contract, so as to ensure the subscribers’ right to be individually informed on the contractual changes. If, by 29 October 2010, RCS & RDS does not notify its customers on the introduction of this fee (with the express mention within the notification that the user has the right to unilaterally terminate the contract within 30 days from receiving the notification, without needing to pay any compensation), and if it does not amend its framework-contract by 19 September 2010, the provider shall pay a fine for each day of delay. The providers of electronic communications services need to understand that they have certain obligations in their relation with the users and they need to observe the responsibilities incumbent on them”, Catalin Marinescu, the President of ANCOM, declared at the Regional Meeting held in Cluj, which gathered more than 150 providers of electronic communications services and networks, and providers of postal services from the counties of Cluj, Alba, Bihor, Bistrita-Nasaud, Maramures, Mures, Satu-Mare and Salaj.

From the moment of receiving the notification from RCS & RDS, the company’s subscribers will be able to choose, within 30 days, between terminating the contract, without paying any compensation, or continuing the contract. RCS & RDS has the obligation to entirely return the amounts paid as maintenance fees in the time spanned between the date the fee was introduced and the date the contract was terminated, to the users who, subsequently to receiving the notification, wish to unilaterally terminate the contract. The maximum return term is 30 days from the contract cancellation date.

The measures enforced by ANCOM are a result of the numerous complaints received from the end-users who unveiled the introduction of a new tariff, starting June 2010, in the context in which the latter was not specified whatsoever in the contracts concluded with RCS & RDS.

ANCOM analysed the documents submitted by the plaintiffs, which showed indeed that this tariff was not specified in the contracts concluded with RCS & RDS, but it appeared instead in the plaintiffs’ invoices. ANCOM found that the provider failed to observe its obligation to notify its customers on this matter via means which would have ensured the notification of each user (postal services, fax, e-mail, SMS etc.). ANCOM deems that the exclusive use of certain general, public means of information (e.g. the provider’s own website or TV channel) are not sufficient to adequately inform all users on the amendment of the tariffs initially agreed, at the moment of signing the contract.

Thus, on 28 June 2010, ANCOM sent RCS & RDS a notification on the intention to enforce the sanction, requiring the company to notify its subscribers on the new tariff, within 45 days. The company was also required to inform its customers on the fact that they have the right to unilaterally terminate the contract, without needing to pay compensations, as well as to change its framework-contract so as to ensure that the provisions of art.19(4) of Law no.304/2003 are correspondingly transposed. On 25 August 2010, ANCOM conducted a control on RCS & RDS following which it assessed that the provider had not enforced the measures requested in the notification, and thus decided to enforce the contravention sanction.

The law does not forbid the unilateral amendment of the contractual provisions by providers. Nonetheless, they have the obligation to inform their customers on the changes (at least 30 days before their entry into force), as well as on the users’ possibility to end the contractual relation if they do not agree with the changes proposed, without needing to pay compensations.