MCMC warns telcos that run misleading ads about unlimited data plans and hidden FUP

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has issued a statement acknowledging complaints of confusing unlimited data plans by telcos. The MCMC said that it has taken necessary action to protect the rights of consumers by monitoring promotions and advertisements from telcos.

According to the statement, the MCMC has issued notices under Section 127 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to Celcom, Maxis, Tune Talk and Webe for their non-compliance with the General Consumer Code for the Communications and Multimedia industry. The four telcos were also instructed to make the necessary changes to their confusing promotions.

It warned all service providers to ensure that all information related to the promotions are clear, easy to understand and not confusing. This is to allow consumers to better understand their plans so that they can make the right decision.

The MCMC has found that there are still service providers that run confusing promotions without stating its terms and conditions outright including the dreaded Fair Usage Policy (FUP). It said that the purpose of the FUP is meant to ensure a fair experience to all users and to curb excessive abuse that affects the experience of others. Telcos that fail to comply with the guidelines can be slapped with a fine of up to RM100,000 or face imprisonment of up to 2 years, or both.

As we’ve highlighted repeatedly, telcos tend to misuse the word “unlimited” for their data plans and we’ve been calling them out on SoyaCincau.com. The FUP was supposed to be used to curb abuse but it appears to be misused by telcos to impose hard data caps for unlimited plans. To make matters worse, these “FUP” conditions are often hidden and it isn’t mentioned on their advertising materials. We’ve said it before and we will say it again, don’t call it unlimited if it isn’t truly unlimited.

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The MCMC has also urged all consumers to fully understand the promotions and terms before subscribing to a telco plan. It reminded users to pick a plan that’s suitable for their own requirement especially for parents that are making preparations for online learning for their children.

Recently, we asked the MCMC if telcos are able to charge ridiculously high termination penalties and they responded by saying consumers have the responsibility to reach a service contract as that is based on a willing buyer willing seller principle. It added that consumers opt to subscribe to a service and not forced into one.

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Alexander Wong