Still receiving marketing calls and SMS? File a complaint against them either by calling a toll free number or via SMS. The penalty they face is strong.
After the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulations, 2010, it was expected that mobile subscribers will not receive unsolicited commercial communication (unwanted calls/SMS) from telemarketers from 27 September 2011 onwards. But the menace still continues and mobile users are being harassed by unwanted calls and SMS, albeit at lower frequency.
However, there is a small difference. Earlier, we used to receive calls or SMS from numbers that we could identify (after few calls). Now they are originating mostly from personal mobile numbers. For example, earlier we used to receive calls from numbers like 012466005000 (representation only) or similar such numbers. However, these days it can be any mobile number. And since most of the times, it is an unknown number; users are fooled into receiving the call or reading the message.
On its part, the TRAI has created the National Customer Preference Register (NCPR) that keeps records of subscriber preferences for receiving commercial communication. Under NCPR, there are two categories, fully blocked and partially blocked. If you do not want to receive any unwanted calls or SMS, then send an SMS START 0 to 1909. At present there are seven preferences to choose from for partially blocking unwanted calls or SMS. The user can opt to receive such communication based on her choice by sending a SMS for example START 4 to 1909 to receive messages on health products.
If despite registering for fully blocked category if you are receiving unwanted calls and messages, then you can file complaint against the telemarketer. You can also file complaint, if you are receiving such communication from categories other than you allowed. This is quite simple and easy.
The subscriber can file complaint either by dialling 1909 (toll free) or sending SMS. When you dial the toll free number, you can either register the complaint through the customer care executive or through the Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS).
For this method, you would be required to provide particulars of the telemarketer, the telephone/ mobile number from which you received the call/SMS, date and time and a brief description of the call or SMS. After this, you will get a unique complaint number.
For registering the complaint via SMS, you need to send a SMS to 1909 in the specified format.
“COMP TEL NO XXXXXXXXXX, dd/mm/yy, Time hh:mm”
Where XXXXXXXXXX – is the telephone number or header of the SMS, from which the unsolicited commercial communication has originated.
Here you would receive the complaint number via SMS. In both cases, you would be informed within seven days on the action taken on your complaint.
Important thing to keep in mind is the complaint has to be registered from the telephone number on which unsolicited commercial communication has been received and the complaint must be made within three days of receipt of the unsolicited commercial communication.
According to the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (Thirteenth Amendment) Regulations, 2013, if the telemarketer is found to be not registered with the NCPR, then the service provider (mobile operator) is liable to pay financial disincentives of Rs5,000 on each complaint.
In addition, if the unwanted call or SMS contains reference to another telephone number or an entity like bank, insurance company or builder for which the commercial transaction is solicited, then telecom resources issued to the subscriber or entity is discontinued across all service provides after receiving a complaint, after serving notices each on the first and second complaint.
For example, if you received marketing call from XYZ Bank or ABC Insurance Co, from numbers that are not registered as telemarketers, then your complaint and its follow up may lead to disconnection of all telephone/mobile connections provided to XYZ Bank or ABC Insurance across the country.
If your issue is not resolved, then you may want to use the Right to Information (RTI) Act. File an application under the RTI and ask for daily progress, name and designations of officers who handled your complaint, the time frame to resolve such complaints, and the action taken on officials, who have failed to resolve the complaint within the stipulated time.
Another way to get rid of the telemarketers is to use an application on your smartphone. For example, TrueCaller and SPC (Super Private Conversation). TrueCaller allows the user to identify unknown callers and also block spam or unwanted calls. In addition, you also can mark a call as spam and report that helps other users of TrueCaller to avoid such calls. Only disadvantage is you will have to share you phone book with the app. TrueCaller is available for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices.
SPC is an app for Android platform that blocks SMS and calls from unknown sources through a blacklist. In addition, the user can move private conversation to a private place inside the mobile device. The app is simple and easy to use and block unwanted SMS and calls.
Although, you can file a complaint against a telemarketer if you receive unwanted call or SMS, there is no respite from such communication on instant messengers like WhatsApp. Although, you can block such number in WhatsApp, you need to open and read the message before knowing the identity of the sender.
At present there are over 90 crore mobile subscribers in India. Low tariffs and direct reach to consumers has made SMS and direct calling as one of the most cost effective ways of selling services and products. However, telemarketing had brought with it serious issues of invasion of privacy and has become a major irritant to customers. Although, this is has come down tremendously, there still are some telemarketers, who are troubling subscribers through unwanted calls and SMS. However, you can now file complaint against such telecallers and teach them a lesson for disturbing you with their unwanted calls/SMS.