TELECOM USERS BEWARE OF YOUR RIGHTS!!

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Are you a mobile phone user who is tired of receiving unsolicited calls or sms for personal loan, sale etc.?

Are you also tired of blocking the number on your cell phones or registering it as spam every time you receive a call, then, this article is just for you.

This article provides you the ways in which you may file a complaint against the number from which you receive such unsolicited call/sms, if you are registered under NCPR, in India.

Background:

Telecom market has grown in India by leaps and bounds and so the problem of telecom users. Now and then, we receive calls from individuals or company, from a landline or a mobile phone, trying to do telemarketing activities. To curb the growing menace of telemarketing activities, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued regulations pertaining to Telemarketing in 2010 itself and have laid strict penalties on unregistered Telemarketers / Defaulters under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010 (TCCCP). But, still there is ignorance amongst individuals and mobile users with respect to the violations, leading to growing annoyance of people like you and me who are using telephone / mobile phones.

A Brief understanding of Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010:

Under TCCCP Regulation, no telemarketer (i.e. a person or a legal entity engaged in the activity of transmission of commercial communications) is allowed to send any unsolicited commercial communication (i.e. any communication which telecom user opts not to receive, except for transactional messages or messages sent under the directions of central or state government or its authorised agencies.) to any telecom user who is registered under National Customer Preference Register (NCPR).

Also, the said Regulation mandates Telemarketers, to register themselves under the Regulation, remove the NCPR registered numbers from telemarketing calls before making such telemarketing calls, use specific phone number series to make telemarketing calls, such as, telephone numbers starting from “+140 ….” or “+70…” etc. Any other number used for telemarketing calls shall be deemed as an unregistered telemarketing number and the same shall be subject to violation under the Regulation. Though, penalties under the said Regulation are severe, including, blacklisting of telemarketer, cancellation of registration, disconnection of telemarketer’s lines etc., but, still somewhere a gateway has been found and we, telephone/mobile users, despite being registered under NCPR, are still receiving such unsolicited calls/sms from personal mobile numbers leading to our increased frustration on day today basis.

What we, telecom subscribers, can to to curb such menace?

We can do the following to save ourselves from the menace of telemarketers:

(a) Register ourselves under the NCPR

(b) File a complaint against telemarketer against unsolicited calls/sms

How to register under NCPR?

TCCCP Regulation has laid down steps for telephone / mobile users to register our telephone / mobile numbers under NCPR by sending message to 1909, under “Fully” or “Partially” Blocked Category. One can check registration status of their mobile number by going to: http://www.nccptrai.gov.in/nccpregistry/Welcome.jsp?reqtrack=CTqHmYcZYecVkQpQDjKFWNRhN

How an NCPR registered telecom customer can file a complaint against unsolicited commercial communication? 

Fortunately, TCCCP Regulation provides a remedy to us to file a complaint against such telephone/mobile numbers from which we are receiving telemarketing calls, if we are registered under NCPR.

Upon receiving an unsolicited call, a registered NCPR subscriber may file a complaint with TRAI as follows:

(a) Send a message from the mobile number on which the call/sms is received. The sms format shall be, “the unsolicited commercial communication, XXXXXXXXXX, dd/mm/yy” to 1909. Where XXXXXXXXXX – is the telephone number or header of the SMS, from which the unsolicited call has originated.The telephone number or header and the date of receipt of the unsolicited commercial SMS may be appended with such SMS, while forwarding to 1909, with or without space after comma.

(b) Download an App, viz, “DND 2.0” on your smart phones. This app will help smart phone users to register their mobile number under “Do Not Call” and allows registered telecom subscribers to file complaint upon receiving any unsolicited commercial call / or sms. You may also track status of your complaint.

Upon successfully receiving the complaint, your telecom service provider will take action on the complaint and inform the complainant within 7 days of lodging of complaint. If the complaint is genuine, such Telephone number will be disconnected permanently and can no longer be used for any calling/ sms activities. Repeated defaulters however, may be refused another telephone / mobile connection, by their respective telecom service providers. However, as a complainant we are informed only about the action on our complaint.

Conclusion:

Usage of telecom is inevitable in our lives. It is the prime source of our personal, professional and business connectivity. But, somewhere its growing menace has disturbed our peace and privacy, Therefore, knowledge of our rights as telecom subscriber is a must to curb such malpractices arising out of unlawful telemarketing activities.

References:

DND 2.0 – downloadable from Playstore

Author: Neha A. Roy

Author is a lawyer by profession and has a decade of experience working with law firms, start-ups and multinational companies. She is based out of Bengaluru, India. Apart from the above, she is a philanthropist and loves nature.

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