Among the improvements that the 16/2022 law will bring to consumers' lives, DECO highlights the implementation of fairer rules for calculating the compensation to be paid by the consumer in the event of early termination of the contract during the mandatory period.

In addition, the new law has a new set of rules when it comes to changes of address, unemployment, and emigration and it also brings a different way of calculating the compensation to be paid in case of unblocking equipment.

Regarding early termination of the contract during the mandatory period, the way in which termination costs are calculated has been changed. However, DECO still states that "it remains confusing and insufficient to encourage mobility in this sector". The law says that the payment of charges can only be claimed if fixed in the contract and has to be based on the actual costs.

In case of unemployment, long-term illness, or emigration, there is a new measure "long requested by DECO" that establishes that communication companies cannot require the consumer who has a contract to pay any charges related to the breach of the mandatory period if the consumer is unemployed, is suffering from a long-term illness or has emigrated. However, this unemployment situation cannot be the consumer's fault and must lead to a loss of their monthly budget.

There is also a ban on charging exit costs in situations of permanent or temporary incapacity for work lasting more than 60 days, particularly in the case of illness, which involves a loss of the consumer's available monthly income.

With regard to change of residence, situations of unemployment, disability/prolonged illness or emigration, it is now established that operators may not require the consumer holding the contract to pay any charges related to the breach of the mandatory deadline if they are in one of the situations mentioned above.

Still work to be done

DECO argues that the law could have gone even further in several aspects, such as in the further reduction of early termination costs, during the mandatory period, in order to allow consumers to change of communication operators or the prohibition of automatic charges for additional consumption or extra services from the operator.

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Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins