Menace of Banks, Financial Institutions Promoting Business via Unregistered Telemarketers

24 September 2013

Do you frequently get unsolicited calls and SMSes from banks, insurance companies and builders? TRAI has reprimanded some of the big banks and insurers for making promoting their business through unregistered telemarketers and issued serious warning that would be taken against them unless corrective actions are done.

Only telemarketers registered with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) are allowed to make calls or SMS with commercial communication on behalf of businesses. Such registered telemarketers are required to abide by certain guidelines such as

- Not sending commercial communication to telephone subscribers who have registered on National Customer Preference Register (NCPR), except in case of categories selected by the subscriber

- Updating their NCPR database twice a week

- Not making commercial communications between 9 pm and 9 am

In blatant violation of TRAI regulations, some of the major banks ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, SBI, Citi Bank, Kotak Mahindra, Axis Bank and PNB have been hiring services of unregistered telemarketers for making SMSes and calls for business promotion. These banks have been directed to look into breached areas, take corrective actions and report to TRAI within a week, failing which telecom facilities provided by their services providers can be disconnected, throughout the country.

Large numbers of complaints for unsolicited business calls and SMSes are against banks, insurance companies, builders etc. Mobile and landline subscribers can choose their preference for receiving  commercial communications by registering with TRAI choosing one of two categories – Fully Blocked Category or Partially Blocked Category.

How to register on Do Not Call registry for stopping commercial calls

To register in Fully Blocked Category, sms 'START 0' to 1909. In partially blocked category, one can choose to receive commercial communication from selected categories.

Presently the preferences are 1- Banking/Insurance/Financial Products/Credit Cards, 2- Real Estate, 3- Education, 4- Health, 5- Consumer goods and Automobiles, 6- Communication/Broadcasting/Entertainment/IT, 7- Tourism.

Therefore if one wishes to receive communication from Education services he/she can send sms 'START 3' to 1909 or for getting commercial communication from Health as well as Tourism businesses sms 'START 4,7' to 1909. Alternately, one can dial 1909 and follow instructions.

Check registration on NDNC registry

To check your present status and date of registration on NCPR follow link and enter your telephone number. Subscribers registered with TRAI prior to 1 March 2011 are automatically in the Fully Blocked Category.

If you continue to receive pesky calls or smses after one week of registering your preference on the National Customer Preference Register you can make complaint on the same portal. Calls from telemarketers begin with the numbers '140'. However, do not mix transactional sms/call from your bank or other service provider with promotional communication.

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