Marlene Mizzi welcomes the new approach to fair use of free roaming, but calls for stronger consumer protection provisions

Following a disastrous first attempt to limit roaming without extra fees to 90 days a year, the European Commission proposed new rules to get rid of mobile roaming charges by June 2017. According to the new proposal, there should be no limits on consumers when using their mobile devices abroad in the EU, but they will have to provide an evidence of stable links with the member state where the SIM card comes from.

As the S&D spokesperson on consumer rights and member of the negotiating team  on the roaming legislation, MEP Marlene Mizzi commented during a debate in plenary: “The previous proposal of the Commission to restrict roaming to only 90 days a year was absolutely unacceptable. We promised citizens a total ban on roaming, not 90 days of credit. There should be no limits in terms of timing or volume imposed on consumers.”

The new rules on “fair use” policy will safeguard the right of bona fide consumers traveling abroad to “roam-like-at-home” without any limitations, whilst at the same time will prevent dishonest phone users or companies to abuse roaming rights by buying SIM cards in countries where they are cheaper and then continue using or selling them at home.

“Peoples’ expectations are that as of June 2017 there will be no roaming charges. Therefore, I am glad that the Commission has taken into account our reactions seriously and decided to drop of the time-limits on roaming. And I welcome the new approach to fair use of free roaming, which is definitely a huge improvement from the previous limit of 90 days,” said MEP Mizzi.

However, MEP Mizzi called on the Commission to clarify a few remaining questions with the new rules in order to guarantee strong consumer protection provisions. “We need to know how, when and what will trigger the fair clause and how consumers can be protected from abusive contractual clauses and additional subjective assessments. Operators should not impose unnecessary administrative burdens or costs on consumers and must provide access to an easy, efficient and transparent complaint procedure,” said Marlene Mizzi.

“It is normal that once the roaming charges are removed people will use this service more. Consumers should not be penalised, simply because now theymake more use of  a service  that was previously too expensive .  We expect the consumer to be given what was promised to them  , that is, abolition of roaming fees by June 2017, without ambiguous clauses  and fuzzy definitions,” MEP Mizzi said.

 

Marlene Mizzi tilqa’ l-kunċett ta’ użu ġust għal roaming b’xejn, titlob għal protezzjoni tal-konsumatur aktar b’saħħitha

Wara l-ewwel prova diżastruża biex ikun hemm limitu fuq ir-roaming mingħajr tariffi żejda għal 90 jum fis-sena, il-Kummissjoni Ewropea pproponiet regoli ġodda biex jitwarrbu t-tariffi tar-roaming tal-mowbajl sa Ġunju 2017. Skont il-proposta l-ġdida, m’għandux ikun hemm limiti fuq il-konsumaturi meta jużaw il-mowbajl waqt li jkunu msefrin fl-Unjoni Ewropea, iżda jkunu jridu jagħtu prova ta’ konnessjoni stabbli mal-istat membru minfejn tkun ħarġet is-SIM card.

Bħala l-kelliema tal-S&D fuq id-drittijiet tal-konsumatur u membru tat-tim ta’ negozjati fuq il-leġiżlazzjoni tar-roaming, il-MPE Marlene Mizzi kkummentat hekk waqt id-dibattitu fil-plenarja: “Il-proposta preċedenti tal-Kummissjoni li tillimita r-roaming għal 90 jum biss kienet assolutament inaċċettabbli. Aħna wegħidna liċ-ċittadini twaqqif sħiħ fuq ir-roaming u mhux vawċer ta’ 90 jum. M’għandux ikun hemm limitu f’termini ta’ ħin jew volum impost fuq il-konsumaturi.”

Ir-regoli l-ġodda fuq il-politika ta’ “użu ġust” jissalvagwardjaw id-dritt ta’ konsumaturi b’bona fide li jivvjaġġaw barra minn pajjiżhom għal roam like at home mingħajr limitazzjonijiet, filwaqt li fl-istess ħin jipprevjenu persuni jew kumpaniji diżonesti li jużaw il-mowbajl milli jabbużaw id-drittijiet tar-roaming billi jixtru SIM cards f’pajjiżi fejn huma irħas imbagħad ikomplu jużawhom jew ibigħuhom f’darhom.

“In-nies qegħdin jistennew li minn Ġunju 2017 mhux se jibqgħu t-tariffi tar-roaming. Għaldaqstant, ninsab kuntenta li l-Kummissjoni tat kas ir-reazzjonijiet tagħna bis-serja u ddeċidiet li twaqqa’ l-limitu ta’ ħin fuq ir-roaming. U nilqa’ l-kunċett ġdid ta’ użu ġust għal roaming b’xejn, li huwa avvanza kbir mil-limitu ta’ 90 jum li kien issemma,” qalet l-MPE Marlene Mizzi.

Madankollu, l-MPE Maltija talbet lill-Kummissjoni biex tiċċara ċerti mistoqsijiet li għad fadal dwar ir-regoli l-ġodda biex tkun garantita protezzjoni tal-konsumatur b’saħħitha. “Irridu nkunu nafu kif, meta u x’se jwassal biex tintuża l-klawżola tal-użu ġust u kif se jkunu protetti l-konsumaturi minn klawsoli kuntrattwali abbużivi u assessjar suġġettiv ieħor. L-operaturi m’għandhomx jimponu piżijiet amministrattivi li m’hemmx bżonnhom jew spejjeż fuq il-konsumatur u jridu jipprovdu aċċess għal proċedura tal-ilmenti sempliċi, effiċjenti u trasparenti,” qalet Marlene Mizzi.

“Huwa normali li ladarba t-tariffi tar-roaming jitneħħew, in-nies jibdew jużaw dan is-servizz aktar. Il-konsumaturi ma jistgħux jiġu ppenalizzati sempliċement għax issa jibdew jużaw servizz aktar, peress li qabel dan kien jiswa wisq. Nistennew li l-konsumatur jingħata dak li kien imwiegħed lilu, jiġifieri, l-abolizzjoni tat-tariffi tar-roaming sa Ġunju 2017, mingħajr klawsoli ambigwi u definizzjonijiet vagi,” temmet tgħid l-MPE Mizzi.

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