TRAI cracks down on pesky calls and SMS: Rs. 5,000 fine on telcos, ban for marketers

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TRAI cracks down on pesky calls and SMS: Rs. 5,000 fine on telcos, ban for marketers
Coming down heavily on pesky callers, telecom regulator TRAI Thursday said phone connections of banks, insurance firms and realty players will be disconnected if rules of unwanted calls and messages are flouted by them, or on their behalf.

The new rules issued by the authority include a fine of Rs. 5,000 per complaint on a telecom firm if found that the unsolicited commercial call (UCC) or SMS was made by unregistered telemarketers using its network.

TRAI said, "In cases where the UCC contains reference to another telephone number or an entity such as banks, insurance companies, builders for which the commercial transaction has been solicited, the telecom resources issued to the subscriber /entity for which commercial transaction has been solicited, shall be disconnected across all service providers."

A large number of complaints pertain to calls or messages received by consumers on behalf of banks, insurance companies, builders and so on, it observed.

TRAI said, "These organisations by engaging such persons who are not registered as telemarketers with the Authority are violating the Regulations. These organisations marketing their products through retailers, distributors and franchisees are thus responsible for the acts of their agents."

The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (Thirteenth Amendment) Regulations, 2013 said: "If on verification of a complaint it is found that the UCC has been sent by a subscriber who is not registered as a telemarketer, the service provider shall be liable to pay financial disincentives of Rs. 5000 on each complaint."

The Authority has noted with concern, the continued problem faced by customers receiving UCC from persons who are not registered as telemarketers. Such persons deliberately masquerade as normal subscribers for engaging in telemarketing activities, it added.

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