‘Nearly 84,000 pesky calls despite signing on for DND service’

Ronendra Singh | | Updated on: Apr 03, 2018

Almost 60 per cent of these were voice calls and the remaining were largely promotional SMS | Photo Credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has received a total of 83,908 complaints from telecom users receiving pesky calls despite opting for Do Not Disturb (DND) service in the last six months.

Almost 60 per cent of these were voice calls and the remaining were largely promotional SMS, said a senior official at TRAI.

The Authority said it will soon start publishing all the data on its portal periodically so that consumers would know if there is any improvement in respect of complaints.

“We will publish what is the performance of the portal periodically,” TRAI Chairman RS Sharma, told BusinessLine . He said he had told his officials to publish the trend of the DND so that it is transparent. “We are trying our best to make consumer-friendly apps and find out the effectiveness of the apps as well,” Sharma said, adding that if the data show there has been an improvement, it should also be published.

But is the Authority taking any action against the pesky callers and SMS senders?

According to the Authority, of the 83,908 complaints it received, 40 per cent of the complaints received during October 2017-March 2018 directly led to the disconnection of resources, whereas in a little over 3 per cent of the cases, the agency had already been disconnected or blacklisted (in the case of registered telemarketers) due to complaints by other subscribers.

“Some others have received notices and action is due to be taken in those cases,” said another official at TRAI, adding that around 30 per cent calls were service calls or communication based on previous consent given by the complainant or otherwise wrongly identified by him/her as spam.

This may have happened inadvertently when they provided the telephone number at a store or a website.

The remaining cases include a variety of reasons, like incomplete or no information (for example in voice calls) or customer not being registered on DND for that category on the day of communication, the official added.

Three apps

TRAI had launched three new apps — Mycall app, MySpeed app and DND 2.0 app — last year to usher in greater transparency between the consumers and the service providers.

Through the DND service app, users can register their mobile number to avoid unsolicited commercial communication/telemarketing calls/SMS; if they get unsolicited calls/ SMSes even after that, they can complain at the TRAI portal for actions.

Consumers can also send an SMS to 1909 (toll-free) for stoppage of commercial calls/ SMS.

According to analysts, consumers should be made more aware of such portals so that they get fewer unsolicited number of calls or SMSes. Given that India has 115.19 crore mobile subscriber as of January 2018, the number of people getting pesky calls everyday must be high.

In September, TRAI brought out a consultation paper on ‘Unsolicited Commercial Communication’, according to which a fine of ₹25,000 is to be levied for a first offence, ₹75,000 for the second, ₹80,000 for the third and ₹2.50 lakh for the sixth offence; after that, the telemarketing company is blacklisted for two years.

However, the Authority is yet to bring out recommendations or regulation for the same.

Published on April 03, 2018
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