THE Balearic government has approved a law which will protect the rights of telephone service and internet provider customers, regional Economy Minister Carles Manera confirmed yesterday.

The new legislation is a response to the lack of proper regulation of the rights of both service providers and users, he explained.
Year after year, telephone and internet companies are the business sector which prompts the largest number of complaints from the public.
During the present Balearic government, there have been more than 5'500 user complaints lodged with the regional Consumer department. In 2010 alone, there were 2'419 objections to telephone and internet company services, 32 percent of the total number of complaints about all sectors of business in the Balearic Islands.

Minister Manera said that the new law adapts to current consumer requirements. Official figures show that 86 percent of the regional population over 16 years of age uses a mobile telephone, 73 percent of homes have a fixed phone and 63 percent have access to the internet at home.

A key feature of the regulatory law says that telephone and internet companies operating in the Islands must, under agreed terms and conditions of a contract, provide free services to clients. If there are any changes to the contract, alterations must be notified in writing and communication reception areas made clear from the outset. Prices with any “hidden” extras have to be presented to the would-be customer in full.

The organisation responsible for ensuring that companies adhere to their responsibilities is the Inspection department of the regional Ministry for Consumer Affairs.

Manera said that the Balearic government has the power to fine companies who flout the law and the names of those who do so will be published in the Official Bulletin of the Balearic Islands.