VTR warns on financial problems if it is ordered to compensate its internet plans clients

On July 24th, the Chilean National Consumer Service (SERNAC) filed a lawsuit against the VTR telecommunications company, with the aim of obtaining compensations for the company’s clients who were affected ‘by the poor quality in the internet service provision’, which, according to the entity, was intensified during the pandemic period.

As officially reported from its website, SERNAC received, between March and June, more than 11 thousand complaints against VTR, a figure that means a 24% of the total complaints received in the telecommunications market in Chile during the period. ‘If we compare the VTR claims of this year versus the ones recorded at same period  2019, an increase of 268% was reported’, the entity also specified. Similarly, of the total complaints received, 42% were due to signal problems and, of these, 67% pointed to the VTR internet quality services. SERNAC also stated that, as of July 24th, VTR led the requests to cancel hiring agreements on the ‘Me quiero salir’ platform, recently launched in Chile, with 41% of the total.

Due to the lawsuit against it, VTR expressed itself in a document and reported to ‘La Tercera’ that ‘what the document aims is to defend and express ourselves to a precautionary measure that Sernac entered in recent days. A spirit of war cannot be derived from it, but rather a legitimate defense and an exposition of our arguments against a resource that, to our view, is not correct, both for the substance and for its lack of proportionality’.

As reported by various specialized websites on this issue, VTR reported that SERNAC ‘does not even specify which clients the precautionary measure should benefit from. Despite alleging that there are thousands of complaints, a large number of VTR’s total universe of clients has not expressed disagreement with the services’. In addition, it assured that, if some of the compensatory measures were applied in the terms requested by SERNAC, ‘it would end up being a resolution that makes the operation and continuity (of the company) unfeasible, and the sentence to bankruptcy’, and remarked that, with the measure taken against VTR, SERNAC aims to ‘deprive it of the income that it legally gets in the exercise of a strongly regulated activity’. In addition, VTR explained that, this way, ‘a kind of undue expropriation is incurred to their detriment, as well as an enrichment without cause for those who use the service for free’.

This way, from SERNAC they avoided expressing themselves on this matter, as it is an ongoing lawsuit, indicating that the Court should analyze and decide later, according to the available background.