Telecommunications

Nature of Dispute

Small businesses may face issues with service provider over telecom and media services disputes. Examples of such disputes includes billing disputes and unsolicited charges, mobile services, fiber connection services and subscription TV services.

How can we help

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s Telecommunication and Subscription Television Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Scheme provides small businesses with an additional avenue to resolve telecom and media services disputes. This ADR is jointly developed between IMDA and Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC)  and fully administered by SMC.

This scheme will mainly cover disputes relating to billing disputes and unsolicited charges (excess data charges or VAS charges), mobile services (voice, data, SMS, VAS and PRS), fibre connection services, subscription TV services.

Services that are less pervasive/frequently use or not licensed by IMDA (such as billing on behalf services such as App store purchases, Over the Top media streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix) are excluded. Cases relating to litigation, regulatory policies, service providers; commercial decisions including their range of services offered and pricing of services, frivolous cases and cases handled or closed by via ADR earlier are also excluded.

Disputes under this scheme (Read more at:Applicable Dispute) :

  • covers a maximum dispute value of S$10,000
  • occurred within the past year
  • resolvable through service recovery efforts or compensated for in kind or in monetary term

All cases will go through the Preliminary Negotiation stage which is mandatory before one can proceed to Scheme Mediation and/or Scheme Determination.

For more information, please refer to the FAQs on ADR Scheme.
Alternatively, please click here to visit IMDA website.

Fees

Small Businesses (Applicable Subscribers) Service Providers
Scheme Mediation $10 $90
Scheme Determination $225 $525
Direct Determination (bypass Scheme Mediation) $375 $375

The figures above are in Singapore dollars and inclusive of GST

Notice of Intention (Start of Application Process)

Small businesses, who meet the eligibility criteria, referred as Applicable Subscriber, can submit their Notice of Intention (NOI), with the case details (Request for ADR form) via the Online Platform. Once a case is submitted, both Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider can negotiate and resolve the dispute within 14-calendar days’ notice period via the Chatroom on the Online Platform before the formal dispute resolution processes commences.

To start the application process, an Applicable Subscriber is required to:

  • Read and agree to Online Platform Terms of Use
  • Make payment of Request Fee of S$10.00
    Thereafter, please check your email account. You can expect two emails from Singapore Mediation Centre: 
  • one email with a copy of your invoice and a copy of your receipt and
  • on the other email with subjecthead: “IMDA ADR Scheme Deposit Receipt”, there will be a link for you to click to proceed to the Online Platform to complete the application process (Request for ADR form – this will take approximately 15 mins)

Click the button below to start your application process and make (deposit) payment.
Please ensure to disable your pop-up blocker before clicking the button.

Preliminary Negotiation

All cases will go through the Preliminary Negotiation stage which is mandatory before one can proceed to Scheme Mediation and/or Scheme Determination.

During the Preliminary Negotiation stage, both Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider can negotiate and resolve the dispute within 14 calendar days notice period before the formal dispute resolution processes commences. This process is facilitated via the Chatroom on the Online Platform.

Communication will be expressed via asynchronous text messages between only the Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider. No other parties will be involved.

Outcome

Within the 14 calendar days notice period, if the dispute is resolved, Service Provider and Applicable Subscriber will notify SMC via the Online Platform. Case is closed and the Request Fee will be refunded to the Applicable Subscriber.

Service Provider and Applicable Subscriber also have the option to terminate the unresolved case. Case is closed and the Request Fee will be refunded to the Applicable Subscriber.

Within the 14 calendar days notice period, if the dispute is unresolved, Service Provider and Applicable Subscriber will notify SMC via the Online Platform of their option to proceed to the next stage: Scheme Mediation or directly to Scheme Determination (bypass Scheme Mediation). Chatroom on the Online Platform will be paused.

To proceed to Scheme Mediation, case will proceed after a mediator is appointed by SMC. The Request Fee of S$10.00 will be applied accordingly for Scheme Mediation.

To proceed to Scheme Determination (bypass Scheme Mediation), case will proceed after a determinant is appointed by SMC and the fees paid. The Request Fee of S$10.00 will be applied accordingly and Applicable Subscriber will be given a link via the Online Platform to make payment for the balance fee.

Scheme Mediation

SMC will appoint the Scheme Mediator to facilitate the mediation session via the Chatroom on the Online Platform between Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider and for a maximum period of 10 calendar days.

Communication will be expressed via asynchronous text messages between the Service Provider, Applicable Subscriber and the appointed Scheme Mediator.

Outcome

Within the 10 calendar days period, if the dispute is resolved, Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider will notify SMC via the Online Platform. Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider shall enter into and sign a Settlement Agreement on the terms of resolution of the dispute. Case is closed.

Within 10 calendar days period, if the dispute is unresolved, Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider will notify SMC, through the Scheme Mediator, via the Online Platform of their option to proceed to the next stage: Scheme Determination. The process in Chatroom on the Online Platform will end. Service Provider and Applicable Subscriber will receive an email of the subsequent steps for payment and submission of additional information.

Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider also have the option to terminate the unresolved case. Case is closed.

Scheme Determination

SMC will appoint the Scheme Determinant, a neutral third party, to undertake the dispute, solely on the basis of the submission of all information and documents via the Online Platform. The Scheme Determination is conducted without any proceeding involving both the Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider.

Outcome

Within 14 calendar days period of the appointment of the Scheme Determinant, the Scheme Determinant shall issue a decision on the resolution of the dispute via the Online Platform.

The resolution is confined to providing for compensation in kind or monetary terms or in the form service recovery efforts. The resolution is enforceable and legally binding. Case in closed.

Definition of Applicable Dispute

“Applicable Dispute”

a dispute arising from or relating to the provision of Services by a Service Provider to an Applicable Subscriber which –

  1.  involves, where applicable, a monetary value not exceeding S$10,000;
  2. has occurred within the period of 12 months immediately preceding the Request Date and can be resolved through service recovery efforts or compensated in kind or monetary terms, but excluding any case relating to, involving, pertaining to or surrounding any –
  1. criminal offence or regulatory matter undergoing investigation by any law enforcement or regulatory agency;
  2. proceeding or hearing before a Court or the Small Claims Tribunal or facilitated by any other ADR body, and which is pending or arising from which a judgment, order or decision has been issued;
  3. matter previously concluded under the Scheme in relation to which there is no new relevant information;
  4. telecommunication and/or media policies;
  5. assistance provided by any Service Provider to any law enforcement or other government agency;
  6. commercial matter, including the scope, pricing or terms  applicable to Services provided by a Service Provider, or any credit assessment decision or policy;
  7. content of Services provided, including smartphone applications, premium services, Internet sites and TV;
  8. frivolous or vexatious matter as determined by the Scheme Operator;
  9. defect, fault or failure in or of third-party equipment that is not owned, operated, installed and/or hired out by the Service Provider in question;
  10. loss of revenue or profits caused by or arising from any failure to provide Services by the Service Provider in question;
  11. customer service, including call centre performance;
  12. legal costs incurred by Applicable Subscribers; and
  13. non-billing related performance and service levels of international roaming services;

iii. rises from or relates to the provision of Services, for which the Applicable Subscriber would enter into billing arrangements or incur once-off charges with the Service Provider, and which –

a. includes, but are not limited to the following services –

  1. mobile services, including voice, data, short message service (“SMS”), international roaming services, value-added services (“VAS”) and premium rate services (“PRS”);
  2. fixed-line broadband internet access services (including fibre broadband services);
  3. fixed line services (including direct exchange line (“DEL”), digital voice, internet protocol (“IP”) telephony system, private automated branch exchange (“PABX”), value-added services, and international calls)
  4. subscription television services;
  5. fibre connection services; and

b. excludes the following services –

  1. over-the-top services;
  2. bill-on-behalf services, except for premium rate services;
  3. payphone services; and
  4. directory enquiry services

Definition of Applicable Subscriber

“Applicable Subscriber”

  1. is an individual; or
  2. a person carrying on business in Singapore (including an individual carrying on business as a sole proprietor) —
  1. whose gross revenue before tax, in the 12 months ending on the Request Date, is not more than $1 million; and
  2. who is or has been required by the Service Provider in question to pay, in the 6 months ending on the Request Date in relation to all applicable Services provided to the person during that period, an aggregate amount (excluding goods and services tax charged) not exceeding $5,000; or

iii.  an exempt charity or a registered charity or registered society which is or has been required by the Service Provider to pay, in the 6 months ending on the Request Date in relation to all applicable Services provided to such exempt charity, registered charity or registered society during that period, an aggregate amount (excluding goods and services tax charged) not exceeding $5,000.

Definition of Service Provider

“Service Provider”

a provider of –

  1. telecommunication services who is a telecommunication licensee
  1. declared by IMDA to be subject to the Scheme; or
  2. within a class of telecommunication licensees declared by IMDA to be subject to the Scheme; and
    as may be updated by IMDA from time to time; or

ii. subscription nationwide television services who is a media licensee

  1.  designated by IMDA to be subject to the Scheme; or
  2. within a class of media licensees designated by IMDA to be subject to the Scheme; and
    as may be updated by IMDA from time to time

To begin a dispute resolution process

  • 1
  • 2

    All cases will first go through mandatory Preliminary Negotiation stage.

  • 3

    Applicable Subscriber to submit Notice of Intention (NOI) and complete Request for ADR form.

  • 4

    Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider to select option button “Proceed to Mediation”, on the Online Platform, within 14 calendar days of NOI period (Preliminary Negotiation) to proceed to Scheme Mediation.

  • 5

    Communication will be expressed via asynchronous text messages between the Service Provider, Applicable Subscriber and the appointed Scheme Mediator on the Chatroom via the Online Platform.

  • 2

    All cases will first go through mandatory Preliminary Negotiation stage.

  • 3

    Applicable Subscriber to submit Notice of Intention (NOI) and complete Request for ADR form.

  • 4

    For Direct Determination (bypass Scheme Mediation), Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider to select option button “Proceed to Determination”, on the Online Platform, within  14 calendar days of Notice of Intent period (Preliminary Negotiation) to proceed to Scheme Determination.

  • 5

    For two-stage process, Scheme Mediation and Scheme Determination, Scheme Mediator, on behalf of Applicable Subscriber and Service Provider, to select option button “Proceed to Determination”, on the Online Platform, within 10 calendar days to proceed to Scheme Determination.

For more information, please contact SMC at