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Govt seeks public input to regulate business spam calls, messages

The department has finalised the draft guidelines after in depth consultations with telecom regulator TRAI…reports Asian Lite News

The Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, has sought public comments on Draft Guidelines for the Prevention and Regulation of Unsolicited and Unwarranted Business Communication.

The Draft Guidelines are placed on the website of the Department of Consumer Affairs for public comments, suggestions and feedback. The inputs may be provided to the Department latest by 21st July 2024.

The draft guidelines have been drafted after detailed deliberations with various stakeholders including telecom operators, telecom regulators and telecom organizations.

The department has finalised the draft guidelines after in depth consultations with telecom regulator TRAI.

It was pointed out that despite TRAI regulations in place, such misleading and deceptive calls and messages have become a sore point for mobile users.

Do Not Disturb (DND) registry has been effective for registered telemarketers but the unwarranted calls and messages from unregistered telemarketers and those using 10-digit private numbers remain unabated.

In order to address the above issue, a committee comprising representatives from the Department of Telecommunication (DoT), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Vodafone Idea, Reliance and Airtel under the Chairmanship of Joint Secretary Department of Consumer Affairs was constituted in February 2024.

The Committee after extensive deliberations suggested a draft framework which is now open for public consultations. The draft guidelines define “Business Communication” as any communication relating to goods or services including promotional and service communication but excludes personal communication.

The guidelines are applicable on all persons and establishments who make or cause to make the business communication and in whose name such communication was made.

The draft guidelines classify any business communication as Unsolicited and Unwarranted Business Communication if such communication is neither as per the consent nor as per the registered preference(s) of the recipient. Any communications made under the following categories will be termed unsolicited.

Any calls or messages through a number series other than the one that has been prescribed by the Authority i.e. TRAI/DoT; or through an SMS header not registered with Telecom Service providers

Initiating such communication despite a request or instruction from the consumer to opt out of any such communication by registering in the DND Registry is managed by the Telecom Service Providers

Initiating such communication without obtaining explicit and specific consent in digital form from the consumer to receive such communication for the particular brand/beneficiary and their respective product;

Making such communication without clearly identifying the calling entity and the purpose of the call

Initiation of such communication through an unauthorized employee or agent

Initiating such communication without giving a clear, simple, free, and effective option to opt-out as well as a confirmation of opt-out if consumer chooses to avail opting out.

The proposed guidelines will protect consumers from invasive and unauthorized marketing or promotion of goods and services communications. (ANI)

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