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Mobile Phone Contracts

Considering the options

With the entry of Qatar's second service provider - Vodafone - there will now be more choice in mobile phone plans, varying call costs and special offers. While choice is good for customers, it may also mean choosing a phone service could be confusing. If you take time to think about your phone usage patterns and what you can afford, it will be easier for you to choose a service that best meets your needs.

Most phone companies offer consumers access to a basic mobile phone service without a long-term contract, such as pre-paid credit or short-term leasing plans. They also usually offer a range of post-paid subscriptions for fixed periods that can be a bundle of products and services at a particular rate, such as a mobile handset with 12 months of calls and SMS.

Entering into a contract

As a consumer, you have rights and obligations when you enter any contract, including for mobile phone service. Pay close attention to call rates and make sure you understand how your call charges will be calculated. Under a typical contract, calls up to a certain value are included as part of the monthly access fees. When calls exceed this value they may be charged at a rate set out in your contract. Different call rates may apply for peak, off-peak, and calls to numbers on other networks.

Can my call charges increase while I am under contract?

Many consumer contracts, including mobile phone contracts, are subject to variation clauses. These allow the service provider to make changes to terms and conditions, including prices. If your phone charges change, you may ask your service provider for details about what part of your contract allow this. Please note that while tariffs for phone services are approved or monitored by CRA, phone companies are free to compete for your business on price and other terms and conditions.

Terminating a contract

In signing your contract, you enter a legally binding agreement to pay your monthly charges for the term of the agreement. Depending on the terms and conditions of your contract, you may have to pay a penalty if you decide to leave the provider part way through the contract. Even if you cannot make calls because you don't have your phone, you still have to fulfill this commitment. You may still be liable for charges if your mobile phone is lost, stolen or broken. Please check the contract.

I think I was misled into entering a contract

It is against the law for a licensed service provider to mislead or deceive you about its products or services. Service providers must deal fairly and be honest with you before and after you subscribe to a service or purchase a product.

This means they must tell you all the charges and other terms and conditions of a service before you buy. They cannot force you to take a service you have not ordered or charge you a different fee from the one offered when you purchased the service. If the phone service or product you agreed to purchase does not meet information or description you were given, then the service provider may be in breach of the law and/or its licence.

Making a Complaint

Service providers have a legal obligation to try to resolve complaints. If you think you have been misled, or are not happy with your service or the service provider, you can complain to the service provider. The following numbers have been provided by Ooredoo and Vodafone for this purpose:

Ooredoo Call Centre: 111
Ooredoo Overseas Enquiries: +974 44380000
Vodafone Customer Call Centre: +974 88007111

If the service provider cannot resolve your complaint within 30 calendar days, you can refer your complaint to the Communications Regulatory Authority by:

In order to have your complaint dealt with quickly and comprehensively, you should always provide all relevant information with your complaint, such as details of the offer made to you, when it was made, what you agreed to, details of problems you have experienced, and any steps taken by you or the service provider to resolve your complaint.

 Communications Regulatory Authority can contact the service provider about your complaint on your behalf to try to resolve the complaint. However, CRA cannot act for you in a legal capacity (as your lawyer) or give you legal or professional advice or disclose other complaints or disputes to you including information about complaints made against a particular company or person.

Getting out of the contract due to being misled

If you want to get out of the contract before it expires because you believe you were misled by the service provider, you can write to the service provider requesting termination of your contract. You will need to clearly explain why you consider that you have a right to terminate the contract, and be prepared to offer evidence that you were misled, such as copies of promotional material and conversations held with sales people.