Updated 1.25pm, adds Melita statement

Telecommunications company GO has insisted that it has not increased its tariffs, after the consumer protection ministry referred it and other telecoms providers to the competition office. 

GO said that its tariff changes were in line with an EU directive implemented by the Central Bank, reflecting a change from a charging to a discounting mechanism.

On Thursday, the government said it had referred GO, Epic and Melita to Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority for investigation. The three telecoms firms are suspected of raising prices for clients who do not pay their bills by direct debit. 

Reacting on Friday, GO insisted that this is not the case and that customers affected by the change are being given a discount to offset the charge. 

GO said that the change was required by the Central Bank, which gave telecoms firms until July 1 to implement the altered mechanism. 

This meant the company had to revisit the way it billed customers and how charges are represented in bills. The change, GO said, only affects customers who were already subscribed to packages which mandated a direct debit method of payment. All others will not be affected.

“GO is now accounting for individual services in each customer account.

"Therefore, if customers are not subscribed to paying with a DDM, the €1 previously charged will now be represented as part of the basic tariff fee.

Should they wish to introduce DDM, they will also start to receive a €1 discount per service," it said. 

Melita revises pricing structure in line with Central Bank instructions

In another statement, Melita said it is revising the way customers are billed for services in line with instructions received from the Central Bank of Malta as of July 1.

The instructions, it said, are based on the provisions of the revised EU Payment Services Directive

It said that the charge, which for many years had applied to customers who did not pay their bills through DDM or Pre-Authorised Credit Card (PACC), will be replaced by a €1 increase in price.

"This means that the extra cost of manual processing of payment has now been incorporated into the price of the product rather than being applied separately.

"On the other hand, all customers who pay their bills automatically through DDM or pre-authorised credit card will receive a €1 discount on all Melita products," it said.

Melita added that this means there is absolutely no change to the actual cost of services for these clients.

 

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