Orange will refund money for paid services, activated unknowingly

The proceedings against Orange, initiated by UOKiK in June, finally ended with the issuance of a decision obliging the operator to pay compensation to subscribers.

In June this year, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection initiated proceedings against Orange Polska. It was about some operator and subscription services that were often activated unknowingly (via flash SMS or links on the website or in a mobile game). For example, non-telecommunication services like “Where’s the Child”, “Protect Children Online” or “Orange Navigation” could be activated by clicking “OK” after receiving a flash SMS message. In essence, it was about situations where the subscriber accidentally activated something and did not know it until he received an overly large bill. Anyway, the invoices themselves did not fully respond to where the high fees came from, because they were included in the collective column “electronic services”.

We received complaints from consumers who were surprised by the higher bill and did not know what the charges were for. The reports showed that the services were activated unconsciously – by clicking on the so-called flash an SMS, a link on a website, an advertisement in a mobile game, as well as using a SIM card in the router. We checked the way of activating these services, the rules of adding fees to the bill for this content and responses to complaints.

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– says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

The decision issued by UOKiK obliges Orange not only to pay compensation in the amount of twice the amount paid for the service (to current and former subscribers). The operator must also resign from flash SMS, consider positively complaints about unknowingly activated services, as well as change the standards for dealing with complaints – the response will contain information about the method of charging to the bill, the name of the activated service, information about who is providing it, how to activate it and deactivation, possibility of blocking.