Registered For Mobile DND? Still You Will Be Disturbed! Telcos Sell Do-Not-Call Nos. For A Premium
Operators offer ‘secure’ ad platform to telemarketers
IF YOU thought registering your mobile number as a ‘ do not disturb’ ( number for unsolicited marketing calls and messages was enough to shield you from intrusive telemarketers and irritating spam text messages, think again.
Thumbing their nose at telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ( TRAI), operators are not only selling numbers registered with the National Do Not Call registry — they are doing so at a premium! One telemarketing advertisement flashed by a telemarketer to lakhs of phone users on Monday said, “ Now send messages on DND number tension free.
Services at very attractive prices. For booking contact 9350073232”. When this correspondent called on the number posing as a customer to book an advertisement, a man named Ganesh Dubey took the call. “ You have to pay ` 5,000 for flashing one lakh messages on DND registered numbers. Most of the DND registered numbers are of high profile and old phone users.
The response is tremendous,” Dubey told this correspondent.
He said they have SMS advertisements services for non- DND numbers too, which costs less.
“ They ( non- DND mobile users) are generally new and low- profile mobile users. The advertisements’ impact is not that effective in some cases,” he said.
When told that telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ( TRAI) has issued tough guidelines and penal provisions for calling on DND numbers, the telemarketer promptly assured that nothing happens in such cases.
“ You will have to pay a penalty in that case. But you can provide us with some new number which is not your name. We will flash that number along with your advertisement. If somebody complains, we will close that number. I can also help you by way of providing you a short code. No one will be able to catch or penalise you,” Dubey said.
According to TRAI’s revised guidelines in case of violations telemarketers would have to pay a fine of ` 25,000 for the first offence. This fine could go up to ` 2.50 lakh if the telemarketing company continues to violate the norms. Finally, it can be blacklisted, too.
When asked about his telemarketing business, Dubey said he works for WebLogic.com and has an office in Chandni Chowk ( Shop No. 122) in the Capital and registered as Bulk SMS Service. The owner of the service is Ankit Jain.
Dubey said they take services of Tata Teleservices Ltd ( TTSL), Loop Mobile and Aircel.
However, despite repeated attempts Trai chairman J. S. Sarma was not available for comments. Even an e- mail query remained unanswered.
But a senior TRAI functionary admitted that it has not been able to enforce the regulations laid down for enforcement of the conduct for DND- registered numbers. “ It is illegal for telemarketers to send bulk messages to DND registered customers,” the official said.
He however, argued that the department of telecommunications ( DoT) should provide them adequate infrastructure at the earliest so that it can enforce regulation on unsolicited calls and messages at the earliest.
DoT has said it would take time for it to upgrade its exchanges across the country before it offers access to a separate number series for telemarketers.
When asked a top TTSL official refused to comment but said that they would never allow telemarketers to send messages to DND registered numbers.
However, another operator of a leading mobile company admitted that operators offer access to telemarketers as the latter pays more to them for flashing messages on DND numbers.
“ No one wants to lose the potential client. Stakes are very high in this business. No one wants to give up on that,” the official pointed out.
On August 12 last year, TRAI had organised an open house discussion on the issue with various stakeholders. However, telecom operators virtually sabotaged and hijacked the discussions at the forum leaving no chance for consumers to put across their views.
Article credits: Mailtoday