TRAI cautions banks against use of unregistered telemarketers

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has directed disconnection on the third complaint of all the telecom resources of the entity/organisation which indulges in Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC).

In the directive issued on Monday, it said the regulations with this regard have come into effect from 6 September.

The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (Thirteenth Amendment) Regulations 2013 note that 'as these organisations are marketing their products through retailers, distributors and franchisees and are therefore, responsible for the acts of their agents', this will affect all the telecom resources of the entity/organisation on whose behalf the business is being solicited.

TRAI noted that it has taken a series of measures for addressing the menace of UCC. However, a large number of complaints continued to be received from consumers regarding calls/SMSs originated by unregistered telemarketers on behalf of banks, insurance companies, builders etc. for promoting their business in utter disregard to the Regulations issued by the Authority.

It has come to the notice of the regulator that some of the major banks and financial institutions have continued violation of the provisions of the aforesaid regulation by marketing their products and services through unregistered telemarketers.

TRAI named seven banks and financial institutions in this connection. These are Axis Bank, Citi Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra, Punjab National Bank, and the State Bank of India.

In terms of the Regulations, telecom service providers (TSPs) are mandated to disconnect all the telecom resources of these banks.

However, as this may have serious implications for these banks and the general public and keeping the larger public interest in view and to prevent public inconvenience, the Authority has decided to exercise temporary regulatory forbearance and has directed the banks to look into the specific cases of breach, initiate corrective action and report back within a period of seven days, failing which the banks are liable to have all their telecom resources disconnected throughout the country.

The Authority is once again drawing the attention of all banks , financial institutions and other entities to the provisions of "The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010" and its amendments and request them to ensure that the regulations are fully complied with, failing which their telecom resources are liable to be disconnected throughout the country across all service providers.

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