The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued an advisory for the public stating that the public should exercise caution while using online conferencing apps to avoid bill shocks.

TRAI noted that few consumers have experienced bill shocks when they joined online conferencing platforms inadvertently dialing international telephone numbers.

“Considering that a large number of members of public have been using online conferencing platforms due to continued lockdown to check spread of COVID-19, it is necessary to alert them to check applicable charges for dialing such numbers/ helplines of such platform/ App providers,” said TRAI.

“Incidences have also come to the knowledge where the customer care centres of some of such service providers are either premium numbers or international numbers. Obviously, the members of public who use such services inadvertently may have to pay higher rates applicable to premium numbers or international numbers which would imply application of ISD tariffs,” added TRAI.

That said, TRAI has advised the public to carefully check the terms and conditions before using dial-in service provided by online conferencing platforms. The public members should also examine any cost applicable for contacting the customer care centre of such platform in terms of tariff for voice calls and other charges as may be applied by the service providers.

“Any inadvertent lapse in this regard may result in significant bills causing bill shocks. Thus, all the members of public are advised to exercise full caution and make themselves aware of the details of terms and conditions of using the online conferencing services particularly nature of numbers to which voice calls have to be made for joining the online conference and/or contacting customer support and details of tariff applicable for each of such services,” noted TRAI.