Tuesday 27 September 2011

Dial 1909 and block all pesky telemarketing calls, sms

The government Tuesday brought into force a regulation barring commercial calls and messages, giving relief to millions of mobile subscribers nagged by telemarketing companies.

To avail the service:

You can to register with the National Customer Preference Registry, earlier known as the 'National Do Not Call' registry, by dialing toll free number 1909.
You can also send an SMS -- "start 0" -- to the same number to get registered.
The registration will become effective within seven days.
You can also choose to partially block the calls or fully block them.
Unlike the previous regulation that asked customers to register their numbers under a "Do Not Call" list, the new regulations allows subscribers to choose from different categories like "fully blocked" or "partially blocked". For list of code visit

Under the partially blocked category, users can choose to receive communication from a desired sector such as education, real estate or health and will have to accordingly send a message with the serial number of the sector.

"The first step has been taken but the more important challenge will be that we are able to implement it as well," Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal said here while announcing that the new guidelines had come into effect.

The regulation also limits an individual customer from sending more than 100 messages in a day.

However the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has relaxed this restriction for some categories of users such dealers of telecom operators, e-ticketing service providers and social networking sites from this obligation.

"The authority received representations from the customers, telecom service providers and their associations stating that in view of the restriction imposed, the customers who need to send non-commercial messages to their employees, agents etc. for their genuine day to day operational requirement are not able to send such messages," TRAI said in a statement.

"The authority has duly considered the representations and is of the view that non-commercial communication under certain categories need to be excluded from the limit of one hundred SMS per day per SIM," it added.

Besides, this restriction will not be applicable on festival days.

The guidelines regulating commercial calls will levy hefty penalties on offenders including fines ranging from Rs25,000 to Rs250,000 depending on the number of times the violation is detected. On the sixth violation, the telemarketer's connection will be terminated and get blacklisted for two years.

"Its not the severity but surety of penalties will lead to customer receiving a sigh of relief," said Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot. According to reports, while the number of pesky calls has fallen lately, messages are still a menace. On an average, as many as 47,454 complaints a month are registered.

All telemarketing firms' will also be easily identifiable as their phone numbers will hence forth begin with '140'. Even seven days after registering, if a consumer receives any unwanted commercial communication, he can file a complaint either by messaging or dialing the toll free number 1909.

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