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Tele spammers to be fined heavily and their lines cut – finally

April 20, 2007

Its going to happen by the end of this month they say. Those who make unsolicited calls will finally have to pay the price:

TRAI’s new proposals would envisage maintaining a central do-not call (DNC) list by National Informatics Centre (NIC) on a national level. Those subscribers who do not wish to be disturbed would register themselves in the national DNC list.

Discussions on this have been going on for some time, but so far no action. There have been PIL’s and a legal notice has been issued, and this scheme was all supposed to roll out on April first, but nothing so far.

Its time now. We are impatiently waiting for the DNC list. In developed countries if companies make calls to numbers on the DNC list, there are hefty fines to pay, at times over $ 1,000 per call! And here – nothing so far!!

TRAI is not saying how much the fine will be in India, but some say it will be heavy, running into thousands of rupees for just one call. But even better, TRAI wants mobile subscribers to disconnect the number of those who make such calls.

Unwanted phone calls…not a day passes when I don’t get offers for loans and credit cards. Nothing stops these people. No, not even the requests to the mobile phone operator – Hutch. You are supposed to SMS the letters DND to 111 to stop all calls…but it doesn’t work. Maybe it doesn’t stop all calls? Anyway, I have tried SMSing DND with a specific number to be blocked. Does that work? Nope. The bank calls again, and again, and again.I just keep sending DND’s all the time but I continue to get calls from HDFC, ICICI, ABN- AMRO. ABN-AMRO is the worst culprit because I get the maximum calls from them. They even have the temerity to send me SMS’s (!) even though I have never in my life done business with them. I never will because the bank has been harrassing me for the last three years. I even tried calling ABN-AMRO and asked them to please stop calling me. That didn’t work either.

Ofcourse, I have DND’d all these numbers to Hutch, but someone still calls up, from a different number I guess. Its like they have this massive number of cell phones (do they keep changing their numbers, like terrorists who change the name of their outfit the minute their outfit is banned?) which never stop. The same numbers are passed on to another lot and it doesn’t matter if the person has requested them not to call again. And the cycle is repeated. Its no use talking to them. Each time its a different phone, a different voice. And its getting to me.

Update, 25th April: While the decision has been made by TRAI, there is still some time before this actually happens!

1) The telecom companies are to be formally notified. It is only when they are notified that the process can roll forward.
2) Telemarketers will have to give a list to TRAI of the numbers they call. This list will be ‘cleaned’ by TRAI of the numbers on the DNC list.
3) An agent has to be appointed to handle the DNC registry.

What does a subscriber do if he gets telemarketing calls even after giving his number to the DNC? Well, he has to complain to his cell phone service provider. A penal tarrif (Rs 500/- Rs 1000/-) is levied. If the telemarketer persists and doesn’t care about the tarrif, his phone line will be disconnected.

I just hope this works!

Update: 27th July: The NDCR (National Do Not Call Register) will be coming into effect from Sep 5th 2007. Each cell-phone service provider will inform subscribers the toll-free number they need to call to register on this service. The register will open on 2nd August and the guidelines will come into effect from 5th Sep. The punishments as of now will Rs 1000/- fine if the telemarketer still calls and then the disconnection of the number. This register will be updated every month.

However these fines are nothing as those compared to fines in developed countries and people fear that the telemarketers will continue to harass subscribers. Actually I think its most unfair to have this no-call register….they should instead have a do-call register. Only those who register should recieve calls. I don’t know why the onus is on the victims to make sure they register their numbers.

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