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General Consumer Code

GENERAL CONSUMER CODE

PART 2 : Rules of the Code

1. Provision of Information

A. Fundamental Principles for Service Providers

1.1 The fundamental principles below govern the Service Providers and should be read in conjunction with and be subject to other general guidelines such as frameworks and determinations already issued and stated hereunder, as well as frameworks and determinations to be issued by MCMC and MECM from time to time. Determinations issued as at the date hereof are :

  1. Determination No. 1 of 2002 (Public Switched Telephone Network Service);
  2. Determination No. 2 of 2002 (Public Cellular Service);
  3. Determination No. 3 of 2002 (Dial Up Internet Access Service);
  4. Determination No. 4 of 2002 (Content Applications Services).

Where there is any inconsistency between any of the provisions of this Code and any framework or determination issued by the MCMC and MECM, the provisions of the framework or determination shall prevail.

1.2 Service Providers should furnish the Consumer with information on\ Services which is sufficient, accurate, true, up-to-date and in a simple and straight forward language.
1.3 Service Providers must respond to Consumer requests for information on Services currently available within seven (7) days of the date of receipt of the customer’s request for information.
1.4 Customer requests for any information covered by this Code or otherwise, provided that the information is available, shall be provided at no cost unless the request involves the retrieval of archival information wherein a charge may be levied.
1.5 A Service Provider may develop a strategy to address the basic information needs of Consumers, for example a database of frequently asked questions.
1.6 Where a Service Provider is required by this Code to inform a Consumer of matters under this Code, a Service Provider can satisfy this obligation by means of such as any or all of the following:

  1. providing the information to the Consumer verbally;
  2. providing the information to the Consumer in writing;
  3. prominently display the information at the premises and/or websites at which the Consumer enters into a contract/agreement;
  4. provide the information to the Consumer electronically.
  5. place the information in any mass media.
1.7 A Service Provider must supply or make available a copy of the contract or agreement for the provision of Services, additional copies of contractual terms must be supplied to the customer upon request and where applicable a reasonable fee maybe charged for additional copies.
1.8 If a Service Provider, in the course of providing a Service requires the services of another Service Provider, the said Service Provider must inform the Consumer of any additional charges that the other Service Provider will impose on the Consumer for such a Service.

B. Description of a Service

1.9 (a) Before entering into a contract, a Service Provider must make available sufficient description of the Services in plain language and avoid the use of technical jargon, except where necessary. On the request of a Consumer, a Service Provider must, in so far as the Service Provider is aware, inform the Consumer what other products and services are necessary in order to use the Services that the Consumer intends to acquire from the Service Provider.

(b) The Service Provider shall provide information on performance details of the Service such as coverage maps.

C. Pricing Information

1.10 Before entering into a contract, the Service Provider must inform the Consumer of:

  1. what charges may apply;
  2. what the charges relate to;
  3. the amount of each type of charge or manner of calculation; and
  4. the frequency of the charge or circumstance giving rise to the charge becoming payable.
1.11 Before entering into a contract, a Service Provider must inform a Consumer if the charges or components thereof may vary during the term of the contract.

Example: 'Your monthly rental of RM30 might change from time to time'

1.11 A The consumer forum may from time to time develop sub-codes containing rules in relation to :-

  1. any situation whereby a Service Provider makes price comparisons of the goods and services provided by it with the goods and services provided by another Service Provider and publishes such price comparisons to the Consumer; and/or
  2. the provision by any Service Provider of any discounts, allowances, rebates, refunds, credits or any commissions or similar benefits to the Consumer.

D. Packaging of Services

1.12 Where Services are packaged with another service and/or product, a Service Provider must inform the Consumer in relation to each service and/or product:

  1. A description of the service and/or product as required under this Code and; Where the Service Provider sells the service and/or product separately, the price that the Service Provider would charge if the Consumer acquires that service and/or product from the Service Provider separately.
  2. Name and address of the supplier of the service and/or product and the party providing the warranty covering the product (if any) with which the Service Providers service and /or product is packaged.
1.13 Where savings are applicable, a Service Provider must, before entering into a contract, inform the Consumer of such savings and indicate any condition that may apply to qualify for those savings, such as what products and/or services the Consumer must acquire to be eligible for a particular saving.

E. Terms and Termination

1.14 If applicable, before a contract is entered into, a Service Provider must inform the Consumer of the minimum duration of the contract, any special terms in the contract, and any specific provision, which states that the Consumer must pay a termination payment, if the contract is terminated prior to the minimum duration.

The Service Provider may discharge this obligation, for example, by placing a notice in a supplementary document provided to the customer.

1.15 The minimum period for notification of termination a Customer is required to give, if applicable.
1.16 In a Contract, the Service Provider must inform a Consumer of:

  1. the commencement date of the contract (except where the contract is a standard agreement);
  2. what the minimum contract term is, if applicable;
  3. where applicable, the minimum period and the manner of notification of termination;
  4. that events give rise to a right to terminate early, if applicable;
  5. which party has these early termination rights;
  6. the amount or method of calculating any charges payable for early termination and in what circumstances such charges are payable;
  7. the conditions and terms of renewal of the contract, if applicable;
  8. the conditions and terms, relating to disconnection and reconnection; and fee charged for reconnection;
  9. terms and conditions relating to refund of deposit including timelines and any penalty imposed;
  10. terms and conditions relating to situations (including but not limited to situations of breach of contractual terms, non payment, fraud etc) that may give rise to the interruption or discontinuation of service;
  11. terms and conditions relating to the delivery and/or activation of products and/or services;
  12. terms and conditions relating to the procedures and manner in which any term and condition may be varied or changed by the Service Provider.

F. Customer Rights of Redress

1.17 Before entering into a contract to provide Services, a Service Provider must inform the Consumer that there is a contractual warranty relating to the Products (if any) and what its rights of redress are should the contractual warranty be broken. Where a copy of the warranty and rights of redress is not provided with the Products, the Service Provider must inform the Consumer where it may be available.

G. Customer Obligations

1.18 In a contract, a Service Provider must inform a Customer of their obligations, and the repercussions arising from a breach of their obligation.

H. Instructions for Use

1.19 A Service Provider must provide general instructions to the Customer on how to use its offered Services.
1.20 Where a Service Provider packages its Services with services and/or products of another party (“the Supplier SP”), the Service Provider will be responsible for the provision of instructions relating to the usage of the services and/or products to the Customer. In the event however, that the Customer wishes to deal directly with the Supplier SP, the Service Provider shall inform the Customer of the Supplier SP’s contact details in which event the Supplier SP will be responsible for the provision of instructions relating to the usage of the services and/or products and the Service Provider’s obligations in relation thereto will be discharged.

I. After Sales Support

1.21 Where after sales support is not available, a Service Provider must inform a Consumer of this fact before entering into a contract.
1.22 The Service Provider must inform the Customer of the following:

  1. whether after-sales support is available;
  2. the circumstances in which it is available;
  3. the contact details for after-sales support; and
  4. whether a charge is payable for after-sales support.

J. Spoken Communications of Prices, Terms and Conditions

1.23 “Spoken Communication" means verbal communication of information on the price, terms and conditions of Services by a Service Provider to a Consumer during the course of:

  1. telemarketing (calls to Consumers);
  2. door-to-door sales;
  3. direct personal sales; and
  4. sales through authorised representatives
1.24 In any Spoken Communication, a Service Provider must promptly:

  1. tell a Consumer the identity or brand name of the Service Provider and the person making the Spoken Communication;
  2. give a clear indication of the primary purpose of the Spoken Communication;
  3. during the sales part of the Spoken Communication, give:
    1. a brief description of the Services;
    2. the charges if any; and
    3. the nature of any special offer, discount, or package.

K. Modified Code Obligations

1.25 This section recognises that in some situations it will not be possible for a Service Provider to comply with all of the provisions in the Code, or that it would not be reasonable to require the Service Provider to do so.
1.26 Where a Service Provider attempts to provide a particular item of information or offers to provide particular information as required by this Code and a Consumer clearly states that the Consumer does not want that particular information, a Service Provider will not be in breach of this Code if it ceases to continue providing that item of information.
1.27 Notwithstanding 1.26 a Service Provider must still comply with its obligations to provide other information than that refused, in accordance with the above clause unless it is clear the Consumer does not want any further information relating to the Services.
1.28 A Service Provider is not required to give a Consumer information under this Code if

  1. a Consumer's request for information is frivolous or vexatious or would be unduly onerous upon the Service Provider;
  2. the Consumer is not eligible for the Services;
  3. the information is not relevant to the Consumer's period of use of the Services;
  4. it would breach obligations of confidentiality or otherwise be in contravention of any law.
1.29 A Service Provider may, at its own discretion, only provide copies of amendments to a contract and need not provide the entire contract where a Customer requests a copy of the contract and the Customer already has a recent copy of the contract

L. Advertising and Representation of Services

  1. Disclaimers
1.30 A Service Provider will clearly state any disclaimers to an offer it provides:

  1. next to the offer; or
  2. linked to the offer by an asterisked footnote in proximity to the offer; or
  3. for television and radio Advertising Materials, as part of the advertisement.
1.31 A Service Provider must ensure that a disclaimer used in Advertising Materials for the service that it provides is:

  1. clearly indicated and visible;
  2. legible
  3. is of a reasonable font size having regard to the type of font used; and is readily understandable, having regard to the nature of the advertisement, the medium used to convey it and its likely audience.
1.32 A Service Provider must not use a disclaimer to negate the principal messages of the Advertising Materials.
1.32A A Service Provider must advertise in such a manner that the Customer is able to distinguish between contractual terms and conditions, and marketing and promotional activities.

  1. Availability
1.33 Service Provider will provide a qualifier in Advertising Materials which promote the availability of a Service, in the event there are geographical or technical limitations on the availability of the Service to Consumers which:

  1. substantially affect the performance of the Services; and
  2. are known to the Service Provider.
    Examples of a qualifier include, but are not limited to:

    1. “For further information, please contact XYZ”.
    2. “Terms and conditions apply”
    3. “For further information, please visit our website at http://www.cfm.org.my
    4. “Subject to service availability”.
  3. Limited Classes of Eligible Consumers
1.34 If certain offers for Services are promoted in advertising material but are only available to a certain group of people, a Service Provider must make clear the limited nature of the offer.

  1. Time Limits on Availability
1.35 A Service Provider must state in Advertising Materials any applicable time limits on availability of any Services promoted in the Advertising Materials.

  1. Availability of Stock
1.36 Where a Service Provider promotes Services in Advertising Materials and if there may not be sufficient stock available for expected Customer demand, a Service Provider must clearly indicate in the Advertising Materials that stocks are limited.

  1. Savings Claims (this includes free offers, special offers below market price and free usage offers).
1.37 A Service Provider must not make a savings claim in any Advertising Materials unless it is true and if each reasonable inference from the advertising materials as to savings can be substantiated.
1.38 A Service Provider must make clear in Advertising Materials any basic conditions the Consumer must satisfy before qualifying for any savings claim.
1.39 General savings claims e.g. "save money", "you will save" or "our rates are cheaper" may only be used if all Consumers would save under the offer.
1.40 In the event that savings claims apply only to specific groups of Consumers, the qualifications shall be clearly stated.
1.41 If access to a Service is promoted in any Advertising Materials as provided for free or below market price, but additional charges apply to use the Service, a Service Provider must disclose the additional charges.
1.42 A Service Provider must not advertise Service as "free" unless the principal terms and conditions of the free offer so far as they relate to fees and charges are disclosed in the Advertising Materials.
1.43 The price of Service accompanying the offer is not inflated to cover some or all of the cost of the free offer. Any offers for free usage of Services which must be utilised within a specific period must be clearly specified in Advertising Materials.

  1. Advertising of Packaged Services
1.44 Where a Service Provider represents in Advertising Materials that a Service is provided under a package, the Service Provider must be in a position to supply all the components of the said package. In the event the Service Provider is unable to supply any component of the package, a disclaimer must be included.
1.45 Where Advertising Materials indicate the price of a component of a package, a Service Provider must:

  1. include in the Advertising Materials a statement of the minimum total charge of the package; and
  2. indicate any conditions that may apply to obtain the component at the stated price.
  1. Comparative Advertisements
1.46 A Comparative Advertisement means an advertisement that makes comparisons of particular Services ("Preferred Services ") and other competitive Services ("Compared Services"); for the purposes of encouraging the Consumer to select a particular Service.
1.47 For governing principles and guidelines on comparative advertising reference is to be made to provisions of the Malaysian Code of Advertising Practice by the Advertising Standards Authority Malaysia (ASAM) which includes –

  1. Advertisements containing comparisons with other advertisers, or other products are permissible in the interest of vigorous competition and public information, provided they comply with the terms of this section and the next following section of the Code.
  2. All comparative advertisements shall respect the principles of fair competition and shall be so designed that there is no likelihood of the consumer being misled as a result of the comparison, either about the product advertised or that with which it is compared.
  3. The subject matter of a comparison shall not be chose in such a way as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser or so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is truly the case.
  4. Points of comparison shall be based on facts which can be substantiated and should not be unfairly selected. In particular:-
    1. The basis of comparison shall be the same for all the products being compared and shall be clearly stated in the advertisement so that it can be seen that like is being compared with like.
    2. Where items are listed and compared with those of competitors’ products, the list shall be completed or else the advertisement shall make clear that the items are only a selection.
  1. Information Disclosure
1.47A A Service Provider should disclose in all Advertising Materials its legal name, the trade name under which it conducts business, and it contact details including principle or business addresses, telephone and fax numbers and e mail address.

M. Customer Billing, Charging, Collection And Credit Practices

1.48 In relation to this section, a Service Providers should at all times be guided by the following principles in that it should endeavour wherever possible to:-

  1. ensure that Customers are able to obtain information relevant to their current bill or any item of its content without any charge.
  2. ensure that billing accuracy is verifiable;
  3. ensure that billing is timely
  4. ensure that sufficient information must be on the bill or otherwise readily available to the Customer for verification;
  5. ensure that upon a bona fide request from a Customer, the Service Provider must inform or provide the Customer with timely, accurate and current information about its billing terms and conditions and options relevant to that Customer.
  6. Retain records of a Customer’s bill for a minimum period of One (1) year.
1.49 A Service Providers shall ensure that the minimum following information should be included in all bills issued:-

  1. The Customer’s billing name;
  2. The Customer’s billing address;
  3. The Service Provider’s current business name, address and registered number;
  4. A bill reference and/or Customer Account Reference;
  5. The billing period;
  6. Description of the charges (and credits) for which the Customer is billed;
  7. The total amount billed, applicable credits, payments or discounts, and the net amount payable by the Customers;
  8. Date bill is issued;
  9. The payment due date;
  10. At least one method of bill payment;
  11. Method to contact for billing inquiries;
  12. Method to contact for complaints; and
  13. The nature of call charges applicable for billing inquiry calls.
Bill Presentation and Format
1.50 Service Providers should further ensure that:-

  1. Bills should be presented and formatted such that Customers can easily read and understand the content;
  2. Bills should have sufficient and clear descriptions of items and categories.
Verification of Billed Charges
1.51 A Service Providers should put into place the necessary internal systems and safeguards to ensure that inaccuracies are minimized in charges billed to Customers.
1.52 It shall be the responsibility of the Customer to verify that charges billed to them are consistent with:-

  1. the Service Provider’s published or contracted prices and discounts; and
  2. what the Customer has requested, utilized or contracted to receive.
Itemization of Charges
1.53 A Service Provider must ensure that Customers have access to itemized details of all charges in relation to the services provided either on the bill or on a separate advice provided by the Service Provider upon request.
1.54 Unless otherwise requested by or agreed with the customer, Service Providers must provide itemized details during the current billing period. Where applicable, the Service Provider must inform Customers of the notice period required to obtain itemized billing. In addition, they must ensure that itemized details contained in the previous bills are available for a minimum period as required by law.
1.55 Except in the circumstances provided below, a Service Provider shall not charge its Customer for bills issued. The circumstances in which a Service Provider may so charge, are generally where Customer requests impose out of the ordinary requirements on the Service Provider such as :-

  1. Requests for past itemization details;
  2. Frivolous, vexatious or onerous requests;
  3. Such other situations as are reasonably considered by the Service Provider as incurring cost in carrying out the requests of the Customer.

In the event of a Service Provider wishing to levy charges in any of these instances, the Service Provider shall first inform the Customer of its intention to levy the charge as a result of the Customer’s request and obtain the consent of the Customer.

Timeline For Issuance of Bill
1.56 Except in the circumstances provided for below, Service Providers must process and issue bills within 30 days of the closure of each billing period. The circumstances in which a Service Provider may exceed the specified number of days are:-

  1. Where there exists a separate agreement with the Customer to the contrary;
  2. Where there is a delay as a result of inclusion by the Service Provider of value added information into the bill;
  3. Where there has occurred a system or processing problem;
  4. Where there has been a purposeful delay on the part of the Service Provider for a specified and planned delay;
  5. Where there is force majeure.
Timeliness of Billed Charges
1.57 Service Providers should ensure that all charges relating to the billing period of each Service Provider should be incorporated in the current bill for that Billing Period.
1.58 In the event that a Service Provider is unable to or will not meet the requirements provided for in 1.56 or 1.57, the Service Provider will notify the Customer accordingly and inform the Customer of the arrangements being made by the Service Provider to rectify the situation.
Exchange of Billing Information Between Suppliers
1.59 Customer Billing Information may only be disclosed provided there is no breach of any law or regulation in place.
Allowable Delays to the Timelines of Billable Charges
1.60 The following constitute circumstances wherein any failure by a Service Provider in adhering to the timeline requirements in 1.56 and 1.57 above being deemed to be and constituting a non failure by the said Service Provider in fulfilling its said timeline obligations. These are circumstances where:-

  1. delays are occasioned by charges being suspended while under dispute;
  2. charges are released after a delay that has been previously agreed by the Customer and the Service Provider;
  3. late billing of charges are due to back dated credits and re-billing following late advise to the Service Provider of a change in the status of the Customer;
  4. late billing of charges are due to changes initiated by the Customer, for eg, where the Customer has requested for changes in billing frequency or billing period;
  5. late billing of charges are due to Numbering Plan changes;
  6. there exist circumstances of force majeure;
  7. late billing is due to circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the Service Provider.
Information on Bill Payments
1.61 A Service Provider must ensure that information relating to the Service Provider’s terms and conditions associated with bill payments (for eg. payment due date) is readily available to the Customers.
Methods of Bill Payments
1.62 Service Providers must clearly state at least one method of payment on their bill.
Direct Debit
1.63 Service Providers should provide for facilities enabling Customer to make payment of bills via Direct Debit.
Receipting and Customer Payment Advise
1.64 Service Providers should ensure that Customer are able to verify their bill payment via inter alia, acknowledgement of payment on the next bill issued, telephone confirmation by calling a specified number, or such other methods as may be prescribed by Service Providers.
Payment Options
1.65 Service Providers should inform Customers as to the various options available to Customer to make payment in respect of their bills as well as to the terms and conditions associated with each option. These payment options may include payment counters, online payments, payment at post offices, etc.
Billing Frequency
1.66 If affected a Service Provider must advise its Customer on changes to its billing period policy in advance.
Billing Inquiries
1.67 The Service Provider must state clearly on the bill (via telephone number or electronic address), a contact point for Customers to make billing inquiries, lodge complaints, request for clarification or express dissatisfaction. It must also be stated clearly on the bill the hours of operation of the contact point, and charges for each inquiry, if any.

N. Provisioning of Service

1.68 Service Providers shall endeavour to provide services within 3 working days from the time the duly completed registration form and supporting documents are received subject to the following: -

  1. In the event there are technical complications within the network of the Service Provider during the provisioning of services, the time for provisioning will be subject to rectification of the technical complications.
  2. Readiness and/or availability of the infrastructure
  3. Credit worthiness of Customer
1.68A Relevant Service Providers shall comply and shall cause their agents to comply with the provisions relating to Standards on Fulfilment of Installation Orders in Determination 1 of 2002.

O. Fault Repair of Services

1.69 Service Providers shall implement the necessary facilities to allow Customers to report faults 24 hours a day.
1.70 Acknowledgement of complaint of fault repair – refer to Complaints Handling/Responsiveness
1.71 Relevant Service Providers shall comply and shall cause their agents to comply with the provisions relating to Standards on Service Restoration Performance in Determination 1 of 2002.
1.72 In the event of force majeure such as floods and storms the Service Provider shall endeavour to rectify the fault within such period of time as may be reasonable taking into account the situation.

2. Protection of Personal Information

2.1 Introduction

The objective of this Section is to set out the responsibility of a Service Provider in the protection of Consumer information.

2.2 General Principles

Following are some of the guiding principles which could be adopted: -

A Service Provider may collect and maintain necessary data/information of Consumers for tracking practices. However, the collection and maintenance of such data/information shall follow the following good practices: -

  1. Fairly and lawfully collected and processed;
  2. Processed for limited purposes;
  3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  4. Accurate;
  5. Not kept longer than necessary;
  6. Processed in accordance with the data subject's rights;
  7. Secure;
  8. Not transferred to any party without prior approval from the Consumer.

Service Providers must take appropriate measures to provide adequate security, and respect Consumers' preferences regarding unsolicited mail and telephone calls.

Service Providers must be open, transparent, and meet generally accepted fair information principles including providing notice as to what personal information they collect, use, and disclose; the choices Consumers have with regard to the business’ collection, use and, disclosure of that information; the access Consumers have to the information; the security measures are taken to protect the information, and the enforcement and redress mechanisms that are in place to remedy any violation of these.

2.3 Code Rules

The following rules refer to the collection of information both verbally and in writing.

2.3.1 Adoption and implementation of a “Protection of Consumer Information Policy”

Any Service Provider that collects Consumer's information has a responsibility to adopt and implement a policy that protects the privacy of identifiable information. Service Providers should also take steps that foster the adoption and implementation of an effective policy on the protection of Consumer information by the Service Providers with which they interact i.e. by sharing best practices with business partners.

2.3.2 Notice and disclosure

A Service Provider's policy on the protection of Consumer information should be made available the most accessible, easy to read and understood manner. In addition, such policy should be disclosed prior to the time that individually
identifiable information is collected or requested.

The policy must state clearly what information is being collected; the use of that information; possible third party distribution of that information; the choices available to an individual regarding collection, use and distribution on the collected information; a statement of the organization’s commitment to data security; and the steps the organization takes to ensure data quality and access.

The policy should also disclose the consequences, if relevant, of an individual's refusal to provide information. The policy should also include a clear statement of the accountability mechanism being applied, including how to contact the Service Provider.

2.3.3 Choice/Consent

Consumers must be given the opportunity to exercise choice regarding how individually identifiable information collected from them may be used.

2.3.4 Data Security

Service Providers creating, maintaining, using or disseminating individually identifiable information should take appropriate measures to assure its reliability and should take reasonable precautions to protect it from loss, misuse or alteration. They should take reasonable steps to assure that third parties to whom they transfer such information to are aware of these security practices, and that third parties also take the same precautions to protect any transferred information.

2.3.5 Data quality and access

Service Providers creating, maintaining, using or disseminating individually identifiable information should take reasonable steps to assure that the data is accurate, complete and timely for the purposes for which they are to be used.

Service Providers should establish appropriate processes or mechanisms so that inaccuracies in material individually identifiable information, such as account or contact information, may be corrected. These processes and mechanisms should be simple and easy to use, and provide assurance that inaccuracies have been corrected. Other procedures to assure data quality may include use of reliable sources and collection methods, reasonable and appropriate Consumer access and correction, and protection against incidental or unauthorized alteration.

 
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