Trai gives customers more teeth against pesky calls

Trai gives customers more teeth against pesky calls

The Trai has made subscribers' consent must for receiving telemarketing messages

In a relief to customers from pesky calls, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Thursday made further changes in existing regulations under which the subscribers' consent is must for receiving telemarketing messages.

An individual can also revoke the permission he/she granted to any commercial entity for a service. The new regulations provide for registration of senders, registration of headers (that segregate different types of messages), and registration of subscribers' consent.

The telecom watchdog also directed the operators to ensure that commercial communication takes place only through registered senders.

“New regulations provide the subscriber with complete control over their consent and the ability to revoke the consent already granted, at their option," the Trai said in a statement.

The registration of subscriber consent will put an end to "major abuse of current regulations", it noted.

In a month from the time the new rules are notified, customers will also be able to set their preference about the types of days and time bands on which they would like to receive commercial communications as well the preferred mode of communication — call or SMS.

Under the new norms, Trai has asked telecom operators to allow customers to set their preference using mobile app developed by them or the regulator, by sending an SMS to 1909, website etc. without paying for these services.

This facility comes in addition to the existing choice of subscribers to partially or fully block tele-marketers from calling them.

Rs 50 lakh penalty

The Trai has increased the penalty cap on telecom operators by ten-fold to Rs 50 lakh in a month from Rs 5 lakh in previous regulations for violations of norms.

According to new norms, the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018, has given 120 days to telecom operators to ensure that modification made by subscribers around receiving tele-marketing or business calls is updated in 15 minutes and commercial communication is made to him or her as per the modified choice after 24 hours of receipt of request.

"Authority decides that the request of preference registration, de-registration or modification should be done within 15 minutes and recommends that revised preferences be enforced within a time period of 24 hours from the time of registering preference or changes to it," Trai said.

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