Dominican court rules against Indotel, telcos in breach of consumer rights appeal

26 Nov 2013

The Dominican Republic’s Supreme Administrative Court (Second Chamber) has ordered the country’s telecoms watchdog the Instituto Dominicano de las Telecomunicaciones (Indotel) to revise within 30 days the contracts of telecoms companies Claro Dominicana (Codetel), Tricom, Trilogy Dominicana (Viva), Wind Telecom and Orange Dominicana in order to eliminate those clauses that violate consumer rights. Local news agency Diario Libre reports that the tribunal accepted the appeal for compliance brought by the Fundacion Prensa y Derecho (FPD – Press and Law Foundation), and placed a USD1,000 penalty on Indotel for each day it does not comply with the ruling.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the Supreme Court held the third hearing of the appeal in mid-November 2013, after postponing the trial twice due to requests by lawyers representing the telcos. The FPD’s representative Namphi Rodriguez pointed out that a study of telecoms contracts revealed that more than 30 clauses are in breach of consumers’ rights. Rodriguez warned that current contracts constitute a serious violation of Article 53 of the Constitution and Article 2 of the General Protection Law of the Rights of Consumers 358-05, and the clauses also limit the telcos’ liability for damages. Further, the FDP accused Indotel of attempting to compel the telecoms companies to provide investigative agencies with unlimited access to subscriber files, without prior judicial review. The organisation pointed out that the General Law on Telecommunications, No. 153-98 and No. 158-05, contains an obligation for Indotel to ensure the rights of consumers and users are not violated.