Paris, 9 June 2008
At ARCEP's initiative, the first plenary meeting of the Comité des consommateurs was held this morning. ARCEP created this committee to organise discussions with consumer associations on questions related to electronic communications and postal issues within a formal, long-term framework.
The committee is composed of 11 consumer associations (ADEIC, AFOC, AFUTT, CLCV, CNAFC, CNAFAL, CSF, Familles Rurales, ORGECO, UFC-Que Choisir, UNAF), as well as institutions responsible for direct relations with consumers in the postal and telecoms sectors (DGCCRF, DGE, INC, Médiateur des Télécommunications).
- Establishing a permanent dialogue with associations
Opening the plenary meeting of the brand-new Comité des consommateurs—which has met four times under its "technical" formation since its creation last December—ARCEP president Paul Champsaur explained that the committee’s goal was to "establish a permanent framework for dialogue and discussion with consumer and user associations".
Indeed, regulation requires that discussions be held with all concerned parties: operators, local governments and end users. As has already been done with operators, through the Comité de l’Accès et de l’Interconnexion, and with local governments, through the Comité des réseaux d’initiative public (CRIP), ARCEP hopes to improve dialogue with associations representing consumers, through an ad hoc committee, so that these relations, which are currently episodic, will have a more formal and regular framework.
Paul Champsaur clarified right from the start that the new dialogue body "does not duplicate already existing work and is open to public representatives in order to guarantee consistency". Indeed, although the regulator plays an important role, it is but one of the public players involved, and there are other bodies where consumers’ concerns can be aired, such as the Conseil National de la Consommation (CNC).
- Items of major concern for consumers
Joëlle Toledano and Denis Rapone, Members of ARCEP’s board of directors, presented to the participants the key characteristics of the electronics communications sector and of the postal sector, as well as the primary issues for consumers in the future:
- service deployments and regional development
- development of competition, especially in mobile telephony
- service quality
- information to consumers
- changing operators
in the postal sector:
- greater transparency on the quality of universal service
- accessibility to mailboxes
- information on postal practices
- feedback on practices requiring intervention from the regulator
- Review of technical work already begun
ARCEP gave an initial review of the Committee’s technical meetings and a summary of the work done so far:
- development of service quality indices
- reduction of black spots (especially slamming)
- development of markets and their regulation: regional development (unbundling, fibre) fixed telephony (pre-selection), mobile telephony (digital dividend, control of invoice expenses on mobile Internet access offers)
In the postal sector, a number of issues were discussed:
- small items priced as "letters"
- access to mailboxes
- establishment of universal service quality indicators
- La Poste’s general terms of sale
- addressee rights
- lost parcels
- A web site dedicated to consumers soon to be opened
Finally, ARCEP announced that it will very soon be opening a new web site dedicated specifically to consumer information in order to answer consumers' questions.
All meeting participants expressed satisfaction with the meeting.
POSTAL slides (pdf)