Protección de los Consumidores
- └► Módulo 6: Aspectos Legales e Institucionales
188.8.131.52 Ley de Protección de los Consumidores
It is important that the telecommunications legal and regulatory framework create an environment that promotes public interest, confidence and participation in the sector. Most countries have done so by enacting consumer provisions in telecommunications legislation, such as number portability, quality of service and universal service. Many countries also have general consumer laws to protect consumer interests in the purchase of goods and services, which also affects telecommunications. The popularity of mobile phones has also resulted in the enactment of special legislation in some countries against mobile phone theft. The interaction of different consumer protection laws that affect the telecommunications sector is seen, for example, in Australia, where consumer protection legislation is embodied in the Telecommunications Act 1997, the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999, the Privacy Act 1988 and the Spam Act 2003. In addition, there are general consumer safeguards under the Trade Practices Amendment (Telecommunications) Act 1997, general unfair trading legislation and customer rights under contract law in Australia.
Due to the interaction of different consumer protection laws, such as in the case of Australia, a need exists for consistency among the laws in order to lessen confusion, and to ensure that the highest standard of consumer protection prevails. In particular, consumer issues and the degree of regulatory oversight may be influenced by the maturity of the national market and the degree of competition in the sector. For example, in highly competitive markets, such as Australia, Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia and Singapore, more reliance is placed on industry self-regulation through voluntary codes of practice. In Malaysia, the Consumer Forum, comprised of service provides, telecommunications companies, broadcasting stations, non-governmental organizations and public interest groups, is designated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to prepare industry codes on consumer protection issues.
Furthermore, given the constantly evolving nature of the telecommunications sector due to new technological developments and convergence, in particular the development of the Internet and the ICT sector, and the large quantity and range of personal information involved, these developments provide certain challenges that may not necessarily be addressed by telecommunications laws or general traditional consumer protection laws. Therefore, many countries are adopting additional laws and regulations that are focused on consumer protection matters in the ICT sector, such as intellectual property rights spam, privacy, fraud, identity theft, cyber crime, and e-commerce transactions. Such legislation protecting consumer activities in the ICT sector, and providing for the security of electronic networks and communications, are necessary to create trust and confidence in the use of digital networks. Further discussion of the impact of ICT related legislation in the telecommunications sector is found in Chapter 4, Section 4.4. A more detailed discussion regarding the regulatory responsibility for consumer protection is available in Chapter 7, Section 7.3.
- ↑ On July 1, 2005, the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) and the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) were merged to form a new regulator, the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA). The ACMA and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are responsible for regulating the broadcasting industry, the Internet, the telecommunications industry, and the radiocommunications industry. See http://www.acma.gov.au.
- ↑ The Acts are available at http://www.comlaw.gov.au.
- ↑ The Trade Practices Amendment (Telecommunications) Act 1997, no. 58 of 30 April 1997 is administered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which regulates anticompetitive conduct by carriers and service providers.
- ↑ Dr. Bob Horton, Telecommunications Consumer Protection in the Asia-Pacific Region, Report to the ITU Global Symposium for Regulators, December 2002.
- ↑ See Boutheina Guermazi and David Satola, “Creating the 'Right' Enabling Environment for ICT," Chapter 2, e-Development: from Excitement to Efficiency, The World Bank, (2005).