Sunday, February 20, 2011

Telemarketing Policy Of India Is Anti Consumers

Ministry of communication and information technology (MCIT) and telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) have not been taking privacy rights of consumers seriously at all. In fact, telecom policy of India is anti consumer in nature.

Both MCIT/TRAI need to make the telecom policy of India more pro active and telecom users’ friendly. However, till now this seems to be just a dream incapable of being fulfilled. Except, mobile number portability (MNP), there is no second policy decision that is user friendly and respects telecom consumer’s rights in India.

However, of all the bad policy decisions of MCIT/TRAI the worst one pertains to telemarketing. Firstly, MCIT/TRAI forced the do not call registry upon Indian telecom consumers. The proper course should have been a default do call registry.

Then MCIT/TRAI did not bother to introduce any deterrent to block telemarketing calls in India. The procedure has been deliberately made too complicated and unproductive that it does not benefit telecom consumers at all.

Further, even if a fine has been imposed, the troubled consumer would not get the same. Where is the incentive to take all the pain to get the guilty telemarketer held responsible? The telemarketing guidelines are inherently and apparently faulty and are violating privacy rights of Indians without any fear or deterrent.

Now the latest to add to this list is the proposal that telemarketers would get new landline number series. This would help customers recognise unsolicited calls, in line with the separate series for mobile telemarketers. MCIT has already issued a number series starting from '140' for calls and SMSes made from mobile services of registered telemarketers.

However, how this exercise would help in preventing violation of privacy rights of telecom consumers in India is still not clear. If a consumer is taking rest or is busy in a meeting or is of bad health, the mere fact of receiving a call from telemarketing companies is a big nuisance.

Strangely enough, neither MCIT nor TRAI have common sense of blocking all telemarketing calls and communications altogether and allow the same only in cases where the consumers have expressly asked to do so in their selective cases only.

However, MCIT and TRAI would never do to as the telemarketing lobby is strong enough to get a decision in their favour. And all other measures are just eyewash to show that MCIT and TRAI care for telecom consumers in India. The truth is that neither MCIT nor TRAI are in favour of protecting consumer rights and privacy rights in India. May be the Supreme Court of India would do something in this regard.