Telemarketer Penalties Reduced – NCCP is for Mobile Users or Marketers?

Looks like each amendment of the NCCP is being made to leave the agency less and less relevant. Latest amendment reduces penalties at each stage for the telemarketer (i.e. first offence, second offence, etc.). Many of the penalties are significantly reduced, and even the deposits that should be kept after each offence is reduced to half!

Telemarketer Blacklist India – Appeal Process Introduced

As per the twelfth amendment, NCCP TRAI has made amendments to the maintenance of a black-list of all marketers who are habitual offenders. Any marketer found to make UCC six times in an year would be banned for at least the next two years, and this remains as per the original provisions. Each access provider is expected to maintain a list of such marketers and also share it with other access providers, again as per the original provisions dated 01 Dec 2010.

Transactional SMS Charges @ 5 Paise

TRAI has come out with a guideline fixing transactional SMS charges at 5 paise for all messages other than governmental ones (wherein the charges would be zero). Transactional SMS charge here means the charge payable by an Originating Access Provider to the Terminating Access Provider for each transactional SMS sent by a registered telemarketer or transactional message sending entity from the network of the Originating Access Provider to the network of the Terminating Access Provider. As per TRAI, this is being done to deal with the imbalance among providers.

Therefore, the Authority has decided that similar to the Promotional SMS charge prescribed for promotional SMSs, 5 paise per SMS should be prescribed for transactional SMSs also. Provision has been made in the regulations to exempt government agencies from the transactional SMS charge.

Full amendment texthere: 11th Amendment

Citing Some References

The data on this website comes from various sources, but mainly from government regulatory authorities and their websites. Referring a few relevant pages below.

Postponed Indefinitely

In an unfortunate turn of events, likely to have been influenced by Telcos and marketers, TRAI has indefinitely postponed the implementation date for NCPR restrictions on messages. In the latest notification, TRAI has replaced all references to any actual date to “from such date as may be notified by the Authority”. This comes when there is barely couple of days to the recently announced date of March 20 from which the restrictions were to be active.

Shame on TRAI for postponing this so many times and still being unable to even give a date!

Full notification is here: Fifth Amendment

Start Date postponed to March 20, 2011

In an amendment released on Feb 28, 2011 (just one day before the proposed date of Mar 01, 2011), TRAI has come out with an amendment changing the effective date for implementation to Mar 20, 2011.

Here is the full text: Fourth Amendment

Transactional and Promotional

With the new NCPR rules coming into force, only transactional messages can be sent to subscribers. What makes it more likely to be enforced better is the fact that Access Providers are also liable to ensure this is followed. All other messages are classified as promotional and need to be scrubbed against the NCPR database to ensure the customer prefers to get messages of that sort.

Limit on free SMS

While most mobile users in India would find the strict customer preference regulations by TRAI as a welcome move, there are certain clauses which are sure to attract criticism. One such is the limit imposed on Access Providers, on the number of free SMS they can offer a customer (or is it on the total number of SMS, irrespective of free or charged?).

Registration Starts

TRAI has published a public service advertisement in all leading newspapers in India today. Here is the message:

Customer Preferences – DND

TRAI has announced higher level of control in opting in/out from receiving commercial communication. While the number to which messages are to be sent or calls to be made remains the same, there are preferences that the customer can set now. Below are the categories available.