x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Phone debts will not lead to travel bans, says TRA

According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), telephone operators cannot issue travel bans or arrest warrants for unpaid bills as these cases are usually referred to courts.

DUBAI// Telephone operators cannot issue travel bans or seek the arrest of customers who fail to pay mobile bills on time, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said yesterday.

Urging customers to be "accountable" for Sim cards registered under their names and to refrain from lending their Sim cards to others, the authority said that unpaid bill disputes were usually referred to courts.

"Du or Etisalat cannot issue notices," said Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, the TRA's director general. "It's a pure contractual agreement and in case the customer fails to pay, they will be taken to court and the court issues notices." His comments followed reports that customers defaulting on bills can be arrested or face travel bans.

Mr Al Ghanim said customers are bound by "contractual agreements" with telephone operators to honour their terms, which includes paying bills on time.

"If the bill comes and for months a customer doesn't pay, Etisalat or du will call them and try to reach a payment agreement. "

UAE courts decide on the course of action after the hearing.

The TRA also advised people against lending Sim cards to friends or relatives. "This is definitely wrong and you are exposing yourself to legal risks."

pkannan@thenational.ae