Consumers who do not wish to receive telemarketing messages can register their Singapore telephone numbers with the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry from Monday.
The service is free, and consumers can get their phone numbers included in any or all of the three DNC registers — for voice calls, text messages and faxes. As of 6pm on Monday, the watchdog body, the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of Singapore, has registered more than 67,000 unique numbers.
Consumers can register their phone numbers at the DNC website, through SMS or at a toll-free phone number. Telemarketers must check against the registry before making a sales pitch. Some companies expect the new regulations to have an impact on their business.
Propnex’s chief executive officer Mohd Ismail said: “Telemarketing is seen as a low cost yet effective reach out. So with the new regulations starting, what we have to do here is we have to put a lot more things in place, due diligence, and also to ensure my sales people don’t go into the problems of not following regulations.”
Propnex will be conducting training sessions next week for more than 2,000 of its agents to ensure they understand and comply with the changes. To help relieve the cost burden for agents, the company also intends to purchase 1,000,000 credits for searches on telephone numbers.
Mr Mohd Ismail said: “When the company buys on a huge quantity, we enjoy a 50 per cent discount, because when any of these new regulations come about, we do not want our agents or sales people to be burdened by high costs.”
Chris International’s director Chris Koh said: “Administratively, I will admit there is a bit of work now to clean that list that I have or to wash that list. Cost wise, there is an additional cost for us in the industry.”
Those who register their phone numbers with the DNC Registry from Monday till July 2, 2014 may still receive telemarketing messages for up to 60 days after registration.
This is to give organisations time to familiarise themselves with the new requirements.
Consumers have expressed concerns that companies may use this period to conduct mass telemarketing exercise.
Contact Centre Association of Singapore’s vice chairman Angie Tay said: “From the company’s point of view, I don’t think any company will want to do a big spamming exercise, trying to push out all the marketing messages, because they know that this period is actually very fragile. If they were to do that, it might affect their company’s branding.
“But I do admit that probably at this period whereby everybody, or this window where everybody is adjusting, there might be smaller companies that will really go all out to push out all their marketing messages so that they will not violate any act or compliance.”
If there is a potential breach, consumers may first approach the organisation to withdraw consent, failing which they can complain to the PDPC.
Under the Personal Data Protection Act, local and overseas organisations must check with the DNC Registry to ensure that the Singapore phone numbers that they are sending telemarketing messages to are not listed in the registry.
Non-telemarketing messages, such as those relating to surveys and customer service, are excluded from the scope of the DNC Registry.
More information is available at the PDPC website.