The Supreme Administrative Court in Bulgaria, or VAS as it is known, has upheld an accusation of ‘unfair commercial practice’ levied by the country’s consumer protection watchdog against Bulgarian Telecommunication Company (BTC), trading as Vivacom. In its decision, the VAS ruled that Vivacom engaged in the unfair practice of charging customers a penalty for cancelling fixed-term contracts they had ‘signed up to’ remotely (e.g. online or over the phone), as in essence, the contract never even existed to be signed. The ruling by the court, in support of the Commission for Consumer Protection, means that in future Vivacom will not be able to tie mobile customers in remotely, and will give the end user adequate time to read the contract in a written form before being legally committed. Until now, many Bulgarian mobile users were unaware they had signed a binding agreement until they were hit with a cancellation fee by Vivacom equivalent to the sum total of the monthly rental outstanding until the expiration of their contract. According to the media statement of the Commission for Consumer Protection, under current legislation, an oral agreement for sealing a deal does not constitute a legal contract.
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