Young woman using smart phone via iStock / isayildiz

Czech mobile operators scrap fees for refunding unused credit, making it easier to switch providers

T-Mobile, Vodafone, and O2 will no longer charge a fee to return unused credit to consumers when switching operators

Under an amendment to the Czech Electronic Communications Act, which went into force in April 2020, consumers in the Czech Republic have been able to request a refund for unused prepaid services when switching mobile providers.

The new amendment has also made it easier for consumers to switch mobile operators in the Czech Republic, reducing both the maximum penalty for early termination of a contract and the notice period for terminating a contract.

However, the Czech Republic’s biggest three mobile operators were still charging fees to process the refund of unused credit to a customer who had switched operators. O2 charged 199 CZK to process the refund request, Vodafone 149 CZK, and T-Mobile 119 CZK.

From this month, however, all three mobile operators have agreed to ditch the fees, allowing customers switching providers to request a full refund for unused prepaid services.

The move comes after a May report from the Czech Telecommunications Office stating that they would conduct an inspection to see if the fees charged by operators really did correspond to their costs incurred to process the refund.

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“We immediately contacted mainly the large mobile operators, and actively discussed with them the reasons and the amount of the required fee,” Czech Telecommunications Office chair Hana Továrková recalled in a press release.

Instead of trying to justify the fees, however, each mobile operator has abandoned them just a month later.

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T-Mobile was the first to scrap the fee, on June 8. O2 and Vodafone followed suit this week.

All three operators cited a low level of refund requests as the reason for cancelling the fees, with Vodafone stating that they had received just 17 such requests during April and May.

“We appreciate such a self-regulatory approach of mobile operators as an undoubtedly positive and consumer-oriented decision,” Továrková stated.

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