Telekom was late in notifying its clients about the change in its invoicing practices

Published: 9 July 2019

Magyar Telekom Nyrt. modified its invoicing practices in October and November of last year without any advance notice, therefore the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) has imposed a fine of HUF 25 million on the company. Due to the unlawful conduct, hundreds of thousands of subscribers were not notified of their rights when their subscriber contracts were modified unilaterally.

NMHH launched ex officio proceedings against the operator based on subscribers’ requests in which consumers objected to Telekom amending the payment deadline of the invoices by setting a shorter payment deadline for the end of the relevant month, shortening the payment deadline by a few days compared to the customary deadline.

In October – or in the case of some clients, in November – 2018, the company requested its clients to settle two invoices in a single month: the invoice for August in early October and the invoice for September at the end of October. The operator informed the subscribers of this in the attachment of the invoice specifying a shorter deadline – and on its website – and although they had the right to amend the contract unilaterally, subscribers should have been informed of this no later than thirty days in advance of the modification. Additionally, the Infocommunications Authority established that as opposed to the conditions laid down by the relevant legislation, the operator failed to notify the subscribers of their rights in the notices. The most important of these includes the right to terminate the fixed-term contract with no legal consequences within 45 days insofar as the unilateral amendment of the contract has an adverse effect on the subscriber.

The circumstances taken into consideration when imposing the fine

Based on the revealed infringements, the NMHH called on Telekom to comply with the relevant regulations and levied a fine of HUF 25 million on the company. When imposing the fine, the Infocommunications Authority took into account the fact that the amendment affected a great number of subscribers and that it called on the operator to comply with the relevant regulations on three occasions over the past two years. However, the Authority considered it to be an extenuating circumstance that the operator provided relevant subscribers with a 5 percent discount from the final sum of the second invoice.

The operator has a right of appeal against the first instance resolution.