||Reasons for Order on Format of Bills.
In the written an oral submissions subscribers complained of difficulties caused by the format (including in particular, the brevity and language of the bill). They complained of the difficulty of understanding the information presented in the bill. The complaints regarding language of the bill focused on the non availability of Suntel and Lanka Bell bills in Sinhala and Tamil. The Committee found that many complaints regarding taxes had been caused by an erroneous translation into Sinhala of the phrase " monthly rental " by SLTL, which has since been corrected. Therefore, the Committee has not made an order about it. The Committee believes that the order regarding format will provide a useful framework for the operators in improving the communicative aspects of their bills
Periodicity of Bills
||Within the overall framework of the licence condition on periodicity of billing (Condition 22.2 for SLTL and Condition 20.2 for Suntel and Lanka Bell), the Committee of Inquiry orders the fixed access operators to improve the periodicity of their bills by taking the following measures
||Mail out the bills to their subscribers within 7 working days of the end of the billing cycle, which must be clearly indicated on the face of the bill. This shall be effected within a period of one year from the date of this order
||Migrate to multiple billing cycles a month within six months of this order. In other words, the subscriber base should be divided into multiple billing groups and the processing of the bills of the different groups must be done at different times of the moth.
||Automate the transfer of billing records from exchanges to the billing centers within two years of the date of this order, taking necessary safeguards to ensure the integrity of the process.
||Reasons for Order on
The written and oral submission contained complaints that payments were not accurately reflected in the bills, that bills were not reguarly resented, and that there were delays in billing. These actions on the part of SLTL appear to have constituted pima facie violations of Licence Conditions 22.2. The Committee notes that during the past few years and in particular the past few months SLTL has made significant improvements in improving periodicity of billing. However there is room for improvement in relation to preventing arrears appearing on the bills of subscribers who have made payments on time. This problem is caused by certain shortcomings in the way that SLTL processes its bills. SLTL manually transfers their billing records from exchanges throughout the island to the single billing center located in Colombo and then physically transports the printed bills back to the regional exchanges where they are mailed out. This current procedure causes a peak load on the billing facilities because the billing records of all of SLTL's subscribers are processed at one time. The Committee notes that at least one other company has successfully overcome this problem by having pultiple billing cycles. The Committee believes that bills can be dispatched to subscribers within seven days once the specified remedial measures are taken.
||Payment of Bills
||The Committee orders the fixed access operators to give subscribers at least seven working days to settle the
bills from the reasonable date of receipt of the bill. This shall be applicable irrespective of the mode or place of payment. Under no circumstance shall a subscriber who has made payment by the date specified in the bill be penalized. A subscriber who is so penalized by an operator shall be compensated at the rate of Rs.250 per day for the period penal action. In addition to the daily compensation, the operator shall offer free
reconnection if disconnection was the penal action effected.