A to Z contract issues

The telephony contract is important, establishing your rights and obligations in relationship with your provider.

Contracts for the telephony service may be concluded in written form, at a distance, or off-premises.

Written contracts have at least two originals. Ask your provider for your contract and keep it throughout its validity period!

The contract usually consists of several documents: main page, general terms and conditions, tariff leaflets, specific clauses dedicated to the telephone service etc. Check whether you have received all the documents. Otherwise, ask the sales operator for all these documents.

Most of the contracts concluded between the telephony providers and consumers are non-negotiable agreements, being drawn up exclusively by the providers. Thus, in most cases, you cannot ask the provider to change the contract, but you can choose another provider, whose offer is better suited to your needs.

Ask your provider for the Framework Contract!

 The Framework Contract is a contract providing the general clauses applicable in the relationship between a user and a service provider, irrespective of the actual offer chosen by the user.

The telephony providers have the obligation to post the Framework Contract on their websites, as well as the Complaint Handling Procedure. Moreover, they have the obligation to hand you a copy of the Framework Contract, upon your request.

Therefore, you have no obligation to sign the contract on the spot! You may take these documents home or you may read them on the providers’ websites.

Read what you are signing!

Do you know what your contract provides? Read it thoroughly before signing. Check whether all the documents accompanying the contract are in your folder (annexes included), including the complaint settling procedure.

Pay special attention to:

  • minimum contract duration and fees applicable in case of early contract termination;
  • usage order of the included minutes/ SMS/ MMS/ video calls;
  • validity period of the add-ons or bonuses granted;
  • additional services that may be activated by default, along with the telephone service (e.g. mobile internet, roaming) and the applicable tariffs;
  • fees applicable for the additional services (e.g. installation fee, SIM replacement fee, itemised bill fee);
  • restrictions when using certain services/applications, as the case may be;
  • trouble notification procedure and repair term;
  • service suspension conditions;
  • damage payments you are entitled to if the provider breaches the contract;
  • what other networks you can call on;
  • porting terms, if you have chosen porting your number.

N.B. If the provider offers a provisional number by the porting contract, you have the right to choose resuming the telephone service with or without the provisional number, where porting is aborted. Read more on www.portabilitate.ro.

Compulsory contract provisions

 According to the Goverment Emergency Ordinance no.111/2011, your contract with the telephony provider must include at least the following minimum clauses:

  • provider’s identification data;
  • description of the telephone service, terms of provision and usage, as well as description of the services activated by default;
  • promotional offers or other benefits granted on concluding the contract;
  • minimum usage term of a certain service required inorder to benefit from certain promotional offers or other advantages;
  • tariffs applicable both for the telephone service and for the other services under the contract, as well as the amount of each fee stipulated in the contract;
  • portability-related fees;
  • means of information on all the updated tariffs charged by the provider, payment methods and possible cost variations by payment method;
  • contract duration, initial contract duration;
  • contract extension terms;
  • service suspension terms;
  • terms for cessation of the service provision and of the contract;
  • amounts owed to the provider upon contract cessation, including the applicable compensations related to the contracted telephone handset (purchased on concluding the contract);
  • steps taken by the providers in case of incidents or threats regarding network and service security and integrity;
  • quality levels the provider undertakes to ensure: term of initial connection to the network and/or services offered, fault repair term, complaint handling term;
  • method of traffic measurement and management to avoid network congestion and its impact on service quality;
  • damage payments you are entitled to where the provider breaches the quality standards and other clauses stipulated in the contract;
  • restrictions in telephone usage, as well as in accessing certain services or applications;
  • terms of access to 112 – the single emergency call number;
  • technical assistance services and customer relations services offered by your provider and how you can contact them;
  • your option regarding personal data processing for the purposes of the directory enquiry services and of subscriber directories;
  • complaint handling procedure.

If your provider breaches the contract, you may contact The National Authority for Consumer Protection! In this situation, ANCOM can provide counselling and mediation, but cannot sanction the provider.

ANCOM may step in where:

  • a provider offers the telephone service and issues bills for it without a proper contract concluded with you,
  • your contract does not provide all the minimal clauses mentioned above,
  • the provider has amended the contract without prior notification.

Find out how you can send a complaint to ANCOM in Complain to ANCOM!

A distance contract is a contract concluded within an established sales or services system, without the simultaneous physical presence of the two parties, using exclusively one or several distance communications means (for example, telephone, letter, e-mail, online applications etc.).

Offer

Prior to concluding the distance contract, a provider must send the following information, in a clear and understandable format:

  • provider’s identity and contact data (address, telephone, fax, e-mail);
  • main characteristics of the services and products to be contracted;
  • total price of the services and products: amount of the tariff plan, included resources (minutes, SMS, data traffic), add-ons to be activated and the corresponding fee, tariffs for calls or data traffic after the consumption of the included resources, transport costs for the equipment delivered, as applicable;
  • contract duration, conditions for contract suspension and corresponding penalties, as applicable;
  • conditions, terms and procedures for exercising the withdrawal right(see the sub-sections below); furthermore, you will receive the withdrawal form made available by the provider;
  • date on which the products or services are to be actually provided/delivered, the methods of payment and of equipment delivery, if you ordered equipment, as well; (further details are available in the sections below):
  • where you buy equipment, the information that you will bear the cost of returning the equipment – if you withdraw from the contract; where the equipment – by its very nature – cannot be returned by mail, information regarding the returning cost;
  • if the usage of a means of distance communication in concluding a contract costs more than the regular/standard tariff, you must be communicated these costs (e.g., if you call a premium rate number);
  • specifications regarding the legal guarantee regarding the product conformity, the post-sale assistance services or other commercial guarantees;
  • information on advance payments or on the payment of a guarantee, if applicable;
  • how to make a complaint, as well as whether and how you can settle a dispute in court;
  • whether there are codes of conduct in force, which are relevant for the provision of the contracted services;
  • if technical measures for the protection of the digital content are in place, its interoperability with the hardware and software components, where applicable and if the provider holds such information

Main means of concluding a distance contract 

Over the telephone Online/via a website
Due to the space and time limitations, a provider will initially offer, over the phone, the following minimum information regarding the offer:

·  provider’s identity;

·  main characteristics of the services and products to be contracted;

·  overall price of the products and services: amount of the tariff plan, resources included (minutes, SMS, data traffic etc.); add-ons to be activated and the corresponding fees, tariffs for calls/SMS or data traffic after the consumption of the included resources, costs of the equipment delivery, if applicable;

·  conditions, terms and procedure for exercising the withdrawal right, as well as information regarding the withdrawal form;

·  duration of the contract, termination terms and applicable penalties, as the case may be.

Further information on the offer will be made available in a manner which is adequate to the distance communication means used (on the provider’s website, by e-mail etc.).

 

N.B. Upon the offer presentation, the provider must send thourough information regarding the offer, on a durable medium (for example, on paper, by e-mail, fax, by a message sent to the on-line account).

 

If you receive the offer on paper and you agree with it, sign it and return it to the provider.

As well, you can accept the offer by sending the provider a confirmation on a durable medium (e.g., by e-mail).

 

The contract shall be considered concluded on the date when have you signed the offer or when you sent the written consent on a durable medium to the provider, not the date when the telephone call was performed.

 

Subsequently, the provider must confirm the contract conclusion on a durable medium, at the latest prior to starting the service provision or on the moment of delivering the equipment, as applicable.

 

The contract confirmation will include the offer details, including the withdrawal form, if you have not already received such information on a durable medium prior to concluding the distance contract.

When you make an online order, before placing it, you should be able to easily find, on the order page, the following information:

 

·  main characteristics of the services and products;

·  overall price of the products and services: amount of the tariff plan, resources included (minutes, SMS, data traffic etc.); add-ons to be activated and the corresponding fees, tariffs for calls or data traffic after the consumption of the included resources, costs of the equipment delivery, if applicable;

·  duration of the contract, termination terms and applicable penalties, as the case may be;

·  whether there are restrictions to equipment delivery and what payment means can be used.

Further information on the offer may be made available on the provider’s website, by e-mail etc.

N.B. The order placement button must also present the warning that completing the order will imply a payment obligation. Should such a warning be missing, you have no obligations under the respective contract!

 

The order page in the online shop must offer the possibility of reviewing the order, to allow for correction of possible errors.

 

The provider must confirm the fact that he has accepted your order – on a durable medium. This is, in fact, the moment of concluding the contract.

 

Subsequently, the provider must confirm the contract conclusion on a durable support, at the latest prior to starting the service provision or on the moment of delivering the equipment, as applicable.

 

The contract confirmation will include the offer details, including withdrawal form, if you have not already received this information on a durable support prior to concluding the distance contract.

Withdrawal right

You have the right to change your mind and withdraw from a distance contract, without invoking a reason, within 14 days from the date of concluding the respective contract.

If the main purpose of your contract is purchasing a piece of equipment (telephone, tablet, PC etc.), the 14-day term shall be calculated from the date of receiving the equipment.

The provider must inform you on your right to withdraw both in the offer presentation, and at the offer confirmation/contract conclusion moment. Check whether you have received the withdrawal form!

If you have not received information regarding the withdrawal right, the term within which you can withdraw from the contract will be extended to 12 months, starting from the end of the initial withdrawal form. If you received such information in time, you can withdraw from the contract within 14 days from the date when you received such information. Moreover, you have no payment obligations for the used services if you have not been informed on the withdrawal right and conditions.

You may request the withdrawal using the withdrawal form made available by the provider or you can send a request specifying your clear intention to withdraw from the contract. The request must specify sufficient data for identifying your contract in the provider’s database, i.e. at least your name and address, the date of concluding the contract and its object.

Warning! In case of a dispute, you must be able to prove that you have requested withdrawal from the contract. Thus, you should send the withdrawal form/request with advice of delivery or ask the provider for a registration number for the request sent by e-mail or submitted to a provider’s working point! Some providers may offer the possibility to fill in and send an online withdrawal form. In this case, you should receive an automatic reply confirming the reception of your request.

Additional obligations, in case of withdrawal: 

  • If you have received a product (telephone, tablet etc.) based on the distance contract concluded, you must return it within 14 days from the date on which you notified the provider that you wish to withdraw from the contract. You may use your terminal to determine the nature, the characteristics, or the operation tips, but if you return it broken or damaged, you have the obligation to pay for diminishing its value or even the whole value, as applicable. Therefore, we recommend you not to remove any protection foils from the terminal – if applicable – and to handle it with care.
  • You will bear the cost of returning the product if the provider has not offered to cover that cost or has not informed you on the fact that you have to bear these costs.
  • If you requested your service to be activated before the expiry of the 14-day withdrawal term, you have the obligation to pay the services you have used by the date of announcing your provider that you withdraw from the contract. Moreover, the provider may ask you to pay the equipment installation fee as well, if applicable. Where the service provision started prior to the expiry of the 14-day term and you submitted a request therefor, you have no obligation to pay the services used/equipment installation fee.
  • The provider must return all the amounts you have paid related to the service contracted/equipment purchased at a distance, not later than 14 days from the date on which it has been informed on your decision to withdraw from the contract.

Service provision/Equipment delivery

Usually, the services contracted at a distance will be provided after the expiry of the 14-day withdrawal period.

If you want your service to be provided before the expiry of the 14-day period, you should submit a written request therefor. The provider must inform you on this possibility, as well as on the fact that you must ask clearly ask this.

If you ordered a product along with the service, this must be delivered without undue delay, within a term agreed with the provider or within 30 days, at the latest, from the fate of concluding the contract.

About what, how and where you can complain 

If you are a residential user, you have concluded a distance contract and the provider has failed to observe your rights, you may complain to ANCOM or to The National Authority for Consumer Protection.

If you are a business user, you have concluded a distance contract and the provider has breached your rights, you may complain to ANCOM.

Find out how you can send a complaint. Visit our section Complain to ANCOM!

An off-premises contract is a contract concluded in your presence and in the presence of the provider’s representative, in a place that is not the provider’s commercial work station (for example, at your place).

Offer

When you are presented the offer, you must also be presented an information package, in a clear and understandable manner, as follows:

  • provider’s identity and contact data (address, telephone, fax, e-mail);
  • main characteristics of the services and products to be contracted;
  • total price of the services and products: amount of the chosen tariff plan, the benefits included (minutes, SMS, data traffic), add-ons to be activated and their corresponding fee, the tariffs for calls or data traffic after the consumption of the minutes included in the subscription, the transport costs for the equipment delivered, as applicable;
  • contract duration, contract termination terms and applicable penalties, if any;
  • conditions, terms and procedures for exercising the right of withdrawalfrom the contract; furthermore, you will receive the withdrawal form made available by the provider;
  • date on which the products or services are to be actually provided/delivered, the methods of payment and of equipment delivery, if you ordered equipment, as well;
  • if you buy a product, the specification that you will bear the cost of returning the product in case you withdraw from the contract; if the product, by its nature, cannot be returned by regular mail, information regarding the returning cost;
  • specifications on the legal guarantee regarding the product conformity, for the post-sale assistance and service or other commercial guarantees;
  • information on advance payments or on the payment of a guarantee, if applicable;
  • how to make a complaint, as well as whether and how you can settle a dispute outside of court;
  • whether there are codes of conduct in force, which are relevant for the provision of the contracted services;
  • whether technical measures for the protection of the digital content apply, its interoperability with the hardware and software components, where applicable, and where the provider holds such information.

The provider will subsequently make available to you an original contract signed by both parties or the confirmation of concluding the contract on paper or, if you agree, on some other durable medium.

Withdrawal right

You have the right to change your mind and withdraw from an off-premises contract, without invoking a reason, within 14 days from the date of concluding the respective contract.

If the main purpose of your contract is purchasing an equipment (telephone, tablet, PC etc.), the 14-day term shall be calculated from the date of receiving the product.

The provider must inform you on your right to withdraw both on the offer presentation, and when sending it on a durable medium or – at the latest – when confirming the contract conclusion. Check whether you have received the withdrawal form!

If you have not received information regarding the withdrawal right, the term within which you can withdraw from the contract will be extended to 12 months, starting from the end of the initial withdrawal period. If you receive such information in the meantime, you can withdraw from the contract within 14 days from the date when you have received the respective information. Moreover, you have no payment obligations for the used services if you have not been informed on the withdrawal right and conditions.

You may request the withdrawal using the withdrawal form made available by the provider or you can send a request specifying your clear intention to withdraw from the contract. The request must specify sufficient data for identifying your contract in the provider’s database, i.e. at least your name and address, the date of concluding the contract and its object.

Warning! In the case of a dispute, you must be able to prove that you have requested withdrawal from the contract. Thus, you should send the withdrawal form/request by the advice of delivery service or ask the provider for a registration number on the request sent by e-mail or submitted at a provider’s work station! Some providers may offer the possibility to fill in and send an online withdrawal form. In this case, you should receive an automatic reply confirming the reception of your request.

Additional obligations, in case of withdrawal:

  • If you have received a piece of equipment (telephone, tablet etc.) based on the off-premises contract concluded, you must return it within 14 days from the date on which you have notified the provider that you wish to withdraw from the contract. You may use your terminal for assessing the nature, the characteristics, or finding its operation tips, but if you return it broken or damaged, you have the obligation to pay for diminishing its value or even to refund the whole value, as applicable. Therefore, we recommend you not to remove any protection sheets – if any – and to handle the terminal with care.
  • You will bear the cost of returning the product if the provider has not offered to pick it up, to cover that cost or has not informed you on the fact that you have to bear these costs.
  • Where the products have been delivered to your place upon contract conclusion and cannot be returned by regular mail, or where the provider has failed to inform you on the fact that you have to bear the delivery costs, the burden of taking over the products or of covering the returning costs will be incumbent on the provider;
  • If you requested your service to be activated before the expiry of the 14-day withdrawal term, you have the obligation to pay the services you have used by the date of announcing your provider that you wish to withdraw from the contract. Moreover, the provider may ask you to pay the equipment installation fee as well, if applicable. Where the service provision started prior to the expiry of the 14-day term although you have not submitted a request therefor, you have no obligation to pay the services used/equipment installation fee.
  • The provider must return all the amounts you have paid in relation to the service contracted/product purchased off-premises, not later than 14 days from the date on which it has been informed on your decision to withdraw from the contract.

Service provision/Product delivery

Usually, the services contracted will be provided after the expiry of the 14-day withdrawal period.

If you want your service to be provided before the expiry of the 14-day period, you should submit a written request therefor. The provider must inform you on this possibility, as well as on the fact that you must clearly ask this.

If you ordered a product along with the service, this must be delivered without undue delay, within a term agreed with the provider or within 30 days, at the latest, from the date of concluding the contract.

About what, how and where you can complain 

If you are a consumer who has concluded an off-premises contract and the provider fails to observe your rights, you may complain to ANCOM or to The National Authority for Consumer Protection.

If you are a business end-user who has concluded an off-premises contract under the provisions of Government Emergency Ordinance no. 111/2011 and the provider has breached your rights, you may complain to ANCOM.

You can send a complaint by following the steps presented in our section Complain to ANCOM!

Generally, the commercial offers include promotional tariff plans, discount equipment prices or free installation services, triggering costs for the recovery of which the providers establish a minimum contract term.

The initial contract term (minimum contract duration) is an interval within which one cannot terminate the contract with a telephony provider without paying penalties, save when the provider amends the contract concluded with you

The initial contract term is not the contract duration.

After the expiry of the initial contract term, the contract does not usually cease. It will continue for an indefinite period or will be extended for periods equal to the initial contract term, based on the actual provisions of each contract type. Check the provisions of your contract!

The contract may cease either on your or on your provider’s initiative. The contract termination clauses and procedure for each of the above-mentioned situations must be stipulated in the contract. Read them in your contract!

N.B. The law provides two types of periods for the initial contract terms: 12-month, and 24-month periods.

The telephony providers must offer you the possibility to conclude a contact for an initial term equal to or shorter than 12 months.

The providers can also conclude contracts for an initial term longer than 12 months, usually offering the users additional benefits, provided that this term should not exceed 24 months.

The contract may be concluded also for an indefinite period. In this case, the provider will not demand any penalties when you want to terminate the contract.

Find out which is the most advantageous situation for you!

If you need more flexibility in switching providers, choose a contract with a shorter initial term.

If you want more benefits and switching providers is not a major concern for you, choose a contract with a longer initial term.

About what, how and where you can complain

Does your contract stipulate no provisions regarding its duration or its initial term? Is your initial contract term longer than 24 months? Has your provider not offered you the possibility to conclude a contract for an initial term of maximum 12 months? Send a complaint to ANCOM.

Find out how in Complain to ANCOM!

At the expiry of the initial term, the contract is usually automatically extended, for a definite or indefinite period. In particular, the service is provided to you as long as neither you nor the supplier makes any attempt to terminate the contract. See what your contract with your telephone provider stipulates in this regard!

During this period, if you decide to terminate the contract, you will not pay any termination fee because the initial term of your contract has expired.

You also have the option, after the minimum contract term, to choose another offer from your supplier and to conclude a new contract (or an addendum to the existing contract). The new offer often involves the start of a new minimum contract term.

About what, how and where you can complain

If you concluded a contract that does not stipulate whether and how its validity can be extended, ANCOM may take steps.  Find out how you can send a complaint in Complain to ANCOM!

Upon your request:

Based on the offer you benefited from upon the contract conclusion, the tariff plan or other clauses may be changed according to the specific provisions of the contract or following direct negotiation with the provider.

On the provider’s initiative:

In certain situations, the provider has the right to amend clauses in your contract (services provided, tariffs, charging details etc.), while being bound to inform you on these amendments, at least 30 days prior to their entry into force. Within this interval, if you do not agree the notified amendments, you have the right to early termination of the contract without paying any penalties.

The provider must send you the notification by one of the following means:

  • letter
  • fax
  • e-mail
  • SMS
  • your customer account created on the provider’s website; this notification will be accompanied by an SMS and/or a warning e-mail on sending the notification.

About what, how and where you can complain

ANOM can take steps if a provider has amended your contract without prior notice or has failed to inform you on the possibility of terminating the contract without paying penalties. Find out how you can send a complaint to ANCOM in Complain to ANCOM!

Usually, a contract concluded with a telephony provider may be terminated under the terms provided therein. Nevertheless, a provider may accept different termination terms – following direct negotiations with you.

If you decide to give up a provider’s services, read the contract, check whether the initial contract term has expired (the applicable fees, if this term has not expired), how you can submit a contract termination request and the term within which the provider will satisfy your request.

Certain providers allow you to communicate your termination request also by telephone. However, you should write down your request, and either send it by mail, with confirmation receipt, or submit it to any of the provider’s work stations/shops and receive a registration number. Furthermore, take into account that some providers will not process your contract termination request unless you return the equipment offered in custody/leased to you and you pay the standing debt.

You can also port your telephone number, i.e. switch providers while keeping your telephone number. N.B. The porting request is also a request for terminating the contract you have concluded with the current provider. Therefore, you should check the provisions regarding the termination of the contract concluded with this provider. Porting will not exempt you from the payment of certain fees – e.g. early termination fees.

Find out how you can port your telephone number, here: www.portabilitate.ro.

About what, how and where you can complain 

Can’t you find any termination clauses in your contract? Send us a complaint! Find out how you can send a complaint to ANCOM in Complain to ANCOM!

If your provider breaches its contractual terms regarding contract termination or if the damage penalties requested for early contract termination consist of a fixed amount, which you deem too high compared to the actual loss incurred by the provider, you can address the National Authority for Consumer Protection.