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Say goodbye to annoying commercial calls, SMSes

You can register with TRAI to stop unsolicited messages, calls

Better late than never. Starting Tuesday, millions of people can bid goodbye to the pesky calls and SMSes, courtesy Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal. Finally, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has enforced a law governing annoying commercial calls and SMSes.


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It restricts telemarketers to sending 100 SMSes per day per SIM and calling people between 9pm and 9am. To avail the service, customers will have to get registered with the National Customer Preference Registry, earlier known as the National Do Not Call registry, by dialling toll free number 1909. They can also send an SMS-"start 0"-to the same number to get registered. The registration will become effective within seven days.

"The first step has been taken but the more important challenge will be to implement it well," said Sibal while announcing the new guidelines. The regulation also limits an individual customer from sending more than 100 messages in a day. TRAI, however, has relaxed the restriction for some categories of users, such as dealers of telecom operators, e-ticketing service providers and social networking sites.

TRAI stated it also planned to impose five paise termination charge per SMS on service providers on whose network commercial SMSes originate. "We are likely to issue a regulation in this regard by October 15," said TRAI Chairman J S Sarma. Some operators charge up to 15 paise per SMS as termination fee on mutual agreements but it is not mandatory. The proposed TRAI directive will make it mandatory for all operators to charge termination fee for at least the commercial SMSes.

What to do
At present, there are seven preferences to choose from-Banking/insurance/financial products/credit cards (1), real estate (2), education (3), health (4), consumer goods and automobiles (5), communication/broadcasting/entertainment/IT (6), and tourism (7). For example, to receive messages related to health products, send SMS "START 4" to 1909. Similarly, for receiving messages related to real estate and education, send SMS "START 2, 3" to 1909. On successful registration, customers will receive an SMS confirming exercised options and a Unique Registration Number within 24 hours. The registration will be effective within seven days of placing the request. Customers can check the status by clicking on "Customer Registration Status". If a customer continues to receive calls even after seven days, he/she can register a complaint with the service provider within three days by dialing or sending SMS to 1909. Customers will have to provide the telephone number or header of the message from where the call or message was received, along with date and time. If the consumer files a complaint, the firm will have to pay a penalty of Rs 25,000 and subsequently, it will go up to Rs 2.5 lakh with a two-year ban. For complaints through SMS, customer has to send SMS COMP TEL NO XXXXXXXXXX, dd/mm/yy, Time hh:mm to 1909. Where XXXXXXXXXX is the telephone number or header of the SMS from which the call or SMS has originated.

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