A VICTORY ACHIEVED AS A RESULT OF CONTINUOUS EFFORTS

Panorama.am
14:25 10/05/06

Today president of "Protection of Consumer's Rights" Abgar Yeghoyan
came out with following statement:

"For the last seven months "Protection of Consumers' Rights" /PCR/
NGO has kept a close eye on the problem of outrageous bills presented
by "Armentel" CJS to its subscribers for using telephone lines to
access internet.

At the end of last year, when first informed about the problem, PCR has
sent letters to the RA Ombudswoman, RA Attorney General and RA Public
Services Regulatory Commission. PCR and the National Assembly Deputy
Collaboration Group made a joint announcement in this regard. Besides
PCR has informed its partners and constituents through its e-network
about methods of blocking international call exits of ordinary phone
lines to avoid undesirable outcomes of being charged for undelivered
services and received positive feedback for this activity.

Since October 2005, PCR was open for consumers who were willing to
appeal against the bills presented to them. During six months PCR
has received 32 appeals.

PCR was not the only organization trying to protect deceived consumers,
several other civil society organizations as well several deputies
of the National Assembly joint their efforts to advocate for
telecommunication consumers. Taking into consideration the amount
of consumers' appeals the RA Public Services Regulatory Commission
formed a working group to study the problem, which also included
representatives of various civil society organizations, as well as
PCR's representative.

Examinations made by the working group showed that even specialists of
"Armentel" CJS at the company's headquarters did not succeed to access
those foreign web-sites from where damaged files supposedly enter
subscribers' computers, as well as it was proved that the methods
of blocking international call exits of phone lines provided in
"Armentel's" information brochures did not function properly.

Even though this issue has become a public concern number of "Armentel"
subscribers who received outrageous bills kept growing. In order to
solve the problem PCR prepared a civil suit against "Armentel" CJS
on the behalf of 32 plaintiffs who have appealed to PCR. Before the
case went to court good news came from "Armentel" CJS. At the meeting
held on May 5th, 2006 the RA Public Services Regulatory Commission
decided to accept "Armentel" CJS's suggestion, as an expression of
good will, of disregarding bills generated as a result of internet
access through telephone lines of those subscribers who have presented
a written appeal to "Armentel" CJS from November 2004 to April 1st,
2006. Those subscribers who have already paid their bills will have
a chance to make international calls according to the amount they
have paid beforehand. "Armentel" CJS is to inform all subscribers
about this decision until May 13th, 2006, also the company received
a recommendation from the Public Services Regulatory Commission
to consider the opportunity of including into the list all those
subscribers who have appealed in written form to "Armentel" CJS from
April 1st,2006 until May 5th, 2006.

The problem is not completely solved with this decision; meanwhile at
least rights of numerous consumers will not be violated. PCR believes
that this can be called a victor for the efforts made by the civil
society organizations and appropriate state structures".