PRESS RELEASE: CTU warns: The failure to approve the amendment to the Electronic Communications Act in its original version might actually hinder strengthening of consumer protection
Prague 13 September 2021 - The Czech Telecommunication Office supports the approval of the amendment to the Electronic Communications Act in its original version, which has already received the support of a large majority of deputies across the political spectrum once in the Chamber of Deputies. According to the Office, necessary change of principle in the field of unsolicited marketing calls is one of main arguments for the original version. If the amendment is not discussed at all at the last meeting of the Chamber of Deputies before the elections, there is a risk of a major impediment to the development of the market and a stagnation in the development of consumer rights, according to the CTU Council Chair, Hana Továrková.
CTU considers the amendment in its original version to be more beneficial for consumers and telecommunications sector. This is particularly important in case of nuisance marketing calls where the consumer must first actively express their disagreement by registering in a public directory. There is a risk of this non-compliant principle to be mothballed for a long time. Moreover, there is very poor provability and enforceability in this field, that even an expression of disagreement may not be the guarantee of getting rid of unsolicited calls. The amendment to the Electronic Communications Act in its original version would ensure more transparent and consumer-friendly way: consumers would have to indicate they wish to be contacted (with such calls). Otherwise, it would be automatically assumed that consumers don´t want unsolicited calls.
We have already addressed this topic in-depth and with many comments in the August and July monitoring report. In addition to the mentioned above, CTU considers the greatest benefit of the amendment to be e.g. easier switching between Internet providers, greater support of equal access to services for disabled people or greater transparency of contractual relations.
"For me, the support that the original version of the amendment to the Electronic Communications Act received earlier in the Chamber of Deputies, is a great hope, that this time, too, Members will vote for the interests of consumers. Perhaps, approval will be given in the last pre-election meeting of the Chamber of Deputies in time for the program and amendment "won't fall under the table." This would mean a huge impediment to the development of the Czech telecommunications market, especially in the area of consumer protection. We are impatiently awaiting the amendment as an office for many reasons. It would, inter alia, allow an easier switching between internet providers or a more conceptual and effective approach to the question of how to support disabled people so that services are as accessible to them as to the others. The interests of consumers are a priority for me," said Hana Továrková, CTU Council Chair.
“Marketing calls are clearly perceived by consumers as annoying; I don´t agree with the current situation where the consumer has to actively express their disagreement with such contact. I consider explicit expressions of potential interest in marketing calls to be much more consumer-friendly, logical and to allow for a better provability of possible administrative offences, “ said Patrik Nacher, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection of the Chamber of Deputies.