A local tribunal from the Argentine northern province of Jujuy (bordering Bolivia) ruled against the telephone company for having billed a call to the Falklands/Malvinas Islands as international, instead of domestic, adding the ruling must be published in the largest circulation provincial and national dailies, pointing out that the phone link with the Islands must be charged as a domestic long distance.
The case against Telecom was presented by a Jujuy solicitor Juan Giusti, who in December 2012 on three occasions called and spoke from his home fixed phone with a friend in Malvinas and received an international rate invoice.
Last week the Civil and Commerce Chamber from the San Pedro de Jujuy tribunal ruled that the multinational telecoms ”must deliver a new invoice correcting the mistake and publishing a clarification on the Islands sovereignty, in the local dailies of largest circulation (El Tribuno de Jujuy and Diario Pregon) and in the national dailies (Clarín and La Nación), failing which, the company will be charged a daily fine of 50.000 Pesos (approx US$ 3.200 per day).
The ruling is non appealable, Giusti was quoted in Jujuy underlining that what was important is the fact Telecom is a public utility company, benefitted with a government concession, and having billed the phone call as international is as if the Argentine State does not recognize that the Malvinas are Argentine”.
The tribunal ruled that the company (Telecom) had infringed the consumer protection bill by billing the phone call from the plaintiff as international.
I was furious when I received the bill, said Giusti who added he demanded the telecoms company for not admitting Argentine sovereignty over the Islands, as it is clearly acknowledged in the national constitution first transitory clause, and for violating the Communications Commission resolution which establishes that communications to the Malvinas Islands will be billed according to Code 12 inter-urban with a 50% rebate.
I didn't do it for money, because it was only a few Pesos, but I was outraged that Argentine sovereignty was not recognized, I could never validate that, admitted Giusti who anticipated that any money from the fines would go to charity.
Telecom argued that the customer had sixty days to make the claim and never appealed to the Consumers Protection office. However the Jujuy tribunal ruled that Telecom has to re-bill the invoice with the December 2012 utility rate and publish beginning on Sunday and for the successive five days the following text: Telecom Argentina SA. following a court ruling, rectifies all billing or communication in which it considers phone calls to the Malvinas Islands as international, pointing out that calls to Malvinas Islands are domestic inter-urban and the cost enjoys a 50% reduction.
Likewise the tribunal called on the National Communication Entity, Enacom and the Malvinas ex combatants National Committee to control the publication in the newspapers. However magistrates discarded any moral damage for Giusti since the Malvinas sovereignty claim belongs to the whole Argentine people and is not an individual demand.
Finally consenting with no consequences the disregard of Malvinas as part of the national territory, implies not abiding with the standing and un-renounceable mandate of the Argentine people in respect of the recovery and full exercise of the imprescriptible sovereignty that the Argentine Nation has over the Malvinas Islands”.