Internet: suppliers are obliged to compensate customers

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L’Regulatory Authority of Electronic Communications and Posts (ARCEP) has just made a new decision regarding internet access in Togo. The decision in question defines the terms and conditions of compensation that each Internet access provider is obliged to provide for the benefit of its subscribers. This will be in case of unavailability or interruption of its services, in case of incidents affecting the provision of its services to the public or in case of non-compliance with installation deadlines.

According to ARCEP, Internet access providers have an obligation to result in the provision of services. Thus, they must ensure a permanently, continuously and regularly available service guaranteeing subscribers the speeds subscribed to under the contract.

As such, ARCEP notes that in the event of a fault at the customer’s site, in particular cases of faulty connection, insufficient speed and premature disconnections, the supplier is required to restore service within a maximum of 48 hours of notification by the customer.

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Compensation or refund for non-use of the Internet

“If the service is not restored within the aforementioned period, the customer has the right to request compensation from his Internet service provider. This compensation is at least a return of the number of days of non-use of the Internet access service from the day of reporting the disturbance to the day of the effective restoration of the service,” the decision reads.

Michel Yaovi Galley, the signatory of the decision, indicates that the request for compensation is sent by the customer to his Internet access provider in writing or by any other digital means made available to him by the provider.

“The latter is required to automatically extend the expiration date of the current subscription with the number of days that will be compensated,” he said.

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Next, the decision indicates that “when the cumulative duration of unavailability during a month is greater than or equal to ten (10) calendar days, the customer sends to his supplier a request for compensation corresponding to one (01) month of subscription. “.

Delays in installing and activating the service are also sanctioned. The customer can request a refund of the amount paid.

“The internet service provider is obliged to refund the amount paid within 72 hours. The Internet access provider may also notify the customer of the termination of the contract, in which case it will refund the amount paid to him without delay. In the absence of interruption, the Internet access provider is required to pay late payment penalties of 10% per day of the total amount paid by the customer, corresponding to the installation and subscription costs, if any, in the document.

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Penalty… Damages and interest

In terms of concerns on the Internet line, refusing to honor an appointment when a defect is reported to an Internet access provider is equivalent to paying a fixed fine of 6,500 CFA francs.

L’ARCEP asks Internet Service Providers to include the terms of compensation and penalties set forth in its current decision in their general terms and conditions of reconciliation.

It should be noted that it is also possible for customers to claim damages and repairs in case of special prejudice suffered as a result of an interruption or unavailability of service, delay in installation or missed appointment. He is only required to “demonstrate the existence and extent of this prejudice”.

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