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Wake Up TRAI – Pesky Calls And Spam SMS’s Are Back Despite The Ban

Ban on unsolicited telephone calls and Sms’s, which came into effect on 27th September, 2011 is not being implemented with earnest by TRAI. After a lull of few days, telemarketers are back in their dirty tricks and have started calling or sending spam Sms’s. Take me for an example, I am receiving two to three unsolicited calls and Spam text messages per day and despite my complaint, no action has been taken so far.

Despite complaints flooding TRAI about National Do Not Call Registry or NDNC (National Do Not Call), TRAI has been ineffective in increasing the registrations on the NDNC. Only approx 2.9 crore of over 85 crore phone users in India are registered with the D0-Not-Call-Registry. The operators who have big stakes in the telemarketing business are not letting their customers opt for registration on NDNC as it would eat away their telemarketing business.

Department of Telecommunications (DOT) and TRAI, are unable to track the violators as they send unsolicited messages through the Internet (VOIP) from servers outside India. Most of these calls and messages originate from Africa and especially Zambia. Telecom Minister had earlier said that the government is unable to track the calls and messages sent through internet servers, which have their systems placed in other countries. He had also said that the effective implementation of the regulations on telemarketers will be an important challenge.

Most of the calls from telemarketers post-regulation are not always from the assigned number series beginning with 140. Even TRAI’S move of slapping a five paise termination charge on commercial message from 25th October, 2011 is peanut and unlikely to deter telemarketers despite the fear of stringent penalty, given the size and potential of the telemarketing business in India.

TRAI and DOT should have anticipated these loopholes before implementing the scheme. They can still plug these loopholes by increasing the termination charges and taking strict action against Indian Operators. They should also fix problems in addressing complaints of the customers who are being pestered with unsolicited calls and messages.

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