The Horror Stories of UCC are Likely to Stay

All of us have got a unique horror story of unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) from businesses more irritating than werewolves falling in love with women in Hollywood movies. The telemarketers (TMs) usually prey on the most vulnerable and indefensible ones in the society to offer them products and services they would mostly never need.  So, needless to say, unsolicited commercial calls have become the bane of our digital lives today.

TRAI’s new regulations on UCC were supposed to bring relief to this menace, which, however, does not seem to be the case in reality—due to several loopholes.

According to the new regulation, TMs will now have to register with the Access Providers (under CoP-Entities) instead of registering with TRAI.

Consumers were by far required to register their numbers in the National Preference Register (NCPR), which was being maintained by NIC on behalf of TRAI and accessed by TSPs. Now, the consumers can register their preferences directly with the Access Providers. That means the TMs, under the new regulation, will not get the mobile numbers of the customers at all.

The new regulation will also ensure that the preferences of the consumers are followed strictly while sending out promotional messages. A great move indeed but all of it to me sounds look like putting a lead rope on an already trained horse. Have these new regulations done something to tame wild hogs roaming around in the guise of unregistered telemarketers (UTMs)? I don’t think so.

Sample this: the new complaint mechanism is prompt and robust. However, there’s been done nothing to address the detection and blocking of spams from UTMs.

OTTs such as WhatsApp are new open fields for telemarketing activities today. However, TRAI’s new regulation does not address this problem. It will encourage telemarketers to shift their base of activities to OTTs, making efforts and investments of operators futile.

The world of unsolicited commercial communication in India is getting smarter with each passing day. To tackle the problem, the industry will obviously have to stay one step ahead and go after the real issues.  

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