Regulator to tighten rules on pesky telemarketing calls, SMS

March 17th, 2008 - 5:13 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Monday announced stricter measures for the telecom operators who have failed to rein in unsolicited telemarketing calls. The regulator announced the notification of the Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC) (Amendment) Regulations, 2008 to give more teeth to the policy of stopping unsolicited calls.

The policy, announced last year, has had very little effect.

“The objective is to increase the effectiveness of compliance of these regulations by providing financial disincentive to non-compliant telecom service providers and thereby reducing the nuisance and inconvenience to the subscribers of telephone/mobile services from the unsolicited telemarketing calls/messages,” TRAI said in a statement.

A service provider who fails to take necessary action after the first complaint made by a user would be charged Rs.5,000 while in case of second such non-compliance the service provider would be charged Rs.20,000.

On the other hand, the telemarketing companies would be liable to pay Rs.500 for each unsolicited commercial communication (call or SMS) and Rs.1,000 for every subsequent unsolicited commercial communication.

In October, TRAI set up a National Do Not Call (NDNC) Registry where subscribers who do not wish to be called could log in their numbers for the telemarketers to see and not call them.

Till date, about 13,600 telemarketers have got themselves registered with the Department of Telecommunication. The NDNC is being accessed daily by around 600 telemarketers for scrubbing their calling list, the watchdog said.

Out of approximately 1,522 million numbers uploaded by the telemarketers for scrubbing, 1,411 million numbers were cleared by NDNC for calling, it added.

“However, there are cases where customers, who even after registering their numbers with the NDNC, are getting calls or SMS either from registered telemarketers, unregistered telemarketers or the service providers themselves,” said N. Parameswaran, principal advisor, TRAI.

“Thus, we are amending the rules to bring in more enforcement that would seek to put an end to all these telemarketing calls and SMS irrespective of the source,” he added.

The regulator has also asked users to notify their service providers within 15 days of receiving such calls or SMSes.

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