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Refund for poor internet service pushed

September 26, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 213 views

CUSTOMERS affected by internet disruptions or poor service may soon get a refund.

Once House Bill 9021 enacted into law, customers will be given the right to get back their money as public telecommunications entities (PTEs), including internet service providers (ISPs), are mandated to “provide a refund credit to a customer, or adjust a customer’s bill, who was adversely affected by an Internet service outage or interruption for an aggregate period of twenty-four (24) hours or more, within a month”.

The measure was already approved in the House of Representatives on third and final reading to which it would institutionalize a mechanism to refund customers in case of outages and disruptions with their Internet or telecommunications services.

The “Refund for Internet and Telecommunications Services Outages and Disruptions Act” got 278 affirmative votes.

Among principal authors are Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco; Paranaque Gus Tambunting; Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzalees Jr.; Manila Rep. Erwin Tieng; and others.

The PTEs will do so on a pro-rated basis, the measure said.

However, a refund is not warranted if the reason for such outage is due to scheduled maintenance, which should be notified 48 hours prior to the scheduled maintenance and should not exceed 48 hours in a month; a fortuitous event; or acts of third party or subscriber.

A fortuitous event is defined by the bill either an “act of God” or natural occurrences, such as floods, typhoons, storms, earthquakes and the likes; or an “act of man”, such as riots, strikes, wars, governmental prohibitions, robbery, theft, sabotage, cyberattacks, deliberate destruction, or accidental damage to telecommunications facilities by third parties and the likes.

The PTEs and ISPs concerned shall apply a bill adjustment, automatically, without need of demand from the subscriber, after a standard process but shall not preclude the consumer from filing a complaint to the appropriate administrative or quasi-judicial agency for disputes regarding refund or bill adjustment amount.

The refund credit granted under the circumstances mentioned supra, shall likewise be granted to customers subscribing to a service on a prepaid basis.