Protecting the rights of consumers is a primary mandate of the RA. While all consumers have a right to consumer protection, both consumers and sectoral providers also have responsibilities in the process of protecting consumers.
A consumer is defined as any individual, small or medium-sized business that uses one or more service within our regulated sectors. We are governed by the Principles of Consumer Protection General Determination, which provides increased protection for consumers and a legally enforceable framework for sectoral providers in the Electronic Communications and Electricity sectors.
While all consumers have a right to consumer protection, both consumers and sectoral providers have responsibilities in the process. Read on to learn more.
Consumers have the right to:
- Have their complaints acknowledged within one business day;
- Cancel a contract within the first two weeks of service;
- Honest advertising and clear language that is easy to understand;
- Opt-out or exit a contract without financial penalty if the Service Provider breaches its obligations of the contract;
- Fair treatment and access for vulnerable persons, including those with a medical condition where the disconnection of electric service would lead to loss of life or immediate hospitalisation, your Service Provider would be required to retain or restore your service for a period of an additional 30 calendar days (*note – a medical certificate is required);
- Spam-free communications where Service Providers are prohibited from engaging in unsolicited direct marketing by means of electronic communications networks without your consent;
- Confidentiality and protection of privacy where Service Providers are required, at a minimum, to comply with the applicable requirements set out in the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) 2016;
- Notice of planned outages where Service Providers are required to provide advance notice of planned outages to all affected consumers; and
- Notice of unplanned outages where Service Providers should provide you with their best estimate on the restoration of services.
Consumers have the responsibility to:
- Understand your Service Provider’s Terms and Conditions before signing a contract with them;
- Know your ability to pay your bill and understand all financial obligations before signing a contract;
- Address your concerns, complaints and technical issues with your Service Provider in a timely manner, typically within 60 days.
Sectoral Providers have the right to:
- Enforce their Terms of Service and Conditions of a signed contract (unless otherwise stated);
- Make changes to a Term Contract when necessary to comply with Bermuda laws, provided that they give consumers reasonable advance notice of the changes;
- Receive payment for services provided to consumers on or before the published due date;
- Withhold certain confidential information, particularly in instances where the provider may be communicating with someone other than the account holder (for example, a relative); and
- Conduct planned outages as long as the provider informs affected consumers in advance, unless the outage is planned to last less than five minutes.
Sectoral Providers have the responsibility to:
- Acknowledge consumer complaints within one business day and try to resolve them in a timely manner, typically within 60 days;
- Allow a contract to be cancelled within the first two weeks of service;
- Provide honest advertising and clear language that is easy for consumers to understand;
- Provide fair treatment and access for vulnerable persons;
- Refrain from sending unsolicited direct marketing without consent from the consumer;
- Maintain confidentiality and protect the privacy of consumers;
- Provide advance notice of planned outages to all affected consumers;
- Provide best estimates on restoration of services for unplanned outages; and
- Comply with the terms and conditions of their licence with the RA to deliver products and services.