T-Mobile Austria advertises higher speed than it offers in contracts

T-Mobile Austria advertises higher speed than it offers in contracts
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Austrian consumer protection organisation VKI took an action against T-Mobile Austria for discrepancy in data speed limits which the operator advertises and those offered in consumer contracts. T-Mobile namely provides for inappropriately low speed limits in the contracts, despite publicly advertising fairly high speeds to attract customers. In line with the view of VKI, the Commercial Court in Vienna has pronounced that such contract clauses are inadmissible.

Should the consumer want to complain about the internet speed he effectively gets from the operator, he could do so only in case that the speed is such extremely low that it falls even below the speed limits specified in the contract.

Although T-Mobile advertises maximum download and upload speeds of 300 Mbps and 50 Mbps, the contract provides for only 2 Mbps/0.5 Mbps for LTE, 1 Mbps/0.25 Mbps for 3G and 180 kbps/90 kbps for 2G technology.

As the Commercial Court in Vienna points out, a description of services which - uniformly across all tariffs - only provides bandwidths of 2/0.5 Mbps, 1/0.25 Mbps and 180/90 kbps, is clearly not actually provided to customers and practically excludes the obligation of the operator to provide flawless performance in terms of bandwidth.

According to Marlies Leisentritt, a lawyer at the VKI, under the clause, consumers would not be entitled to assert any warranty claims until they have fallen below exorbitantly low speed values. Consumer warranty rights may not be excluded or limited before a deficiency is known, she explained.

The judgement of the commercial court refers to consumer protection legislation. However, in this regard, it shall be noted that there is also an industry-specific legislation, adopted with the aim to prevent discrepancies between declared and really provided data speeds.

The EU agreed on open internet access rules and in November 2015 adopted a regulation, which sets certain transparency measures. Among them also a requirement for providers of internet access services to ensure that any contract which includes internet access services specifies a clear and comprehensible explanation of the minimum, normally available, maximum and advertised download and upload speed of the internet access services in the case of fixed networks, or of the estimated maximum and advertised download and upload speed of the internet access services in the case of mobile networks, and how significant deviations from the respective advertised download and upload speeds could impact the exercise of the end-users’ rights.

 

Photo by Natchapon | stock-adobe-com

 

Published on: January 15, 2019


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