KOLKATA: The telecom regulator has extended the deadlines for stakeholder comments and counter-comments on its recent discussion paper on ways to beef up the redressal system for dealing with unwanted calls and pesky messages.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), in a statement Wednesday, said it has now sought comments and counter-comments by November 9 and November 16 instead of the earlier October 12 and October 26 deadlines, following requests from stakeholders and industry associations.
In its discussion paper, issued on September 14, Trai had said the current redressal system had failed to rein in unwanted calls and pesky messages, and had accordingly, underscored the need to tighten gate-keeping operations.
“From complaints being received on a regular basis and feedback from various sources, it’s evident that the problem of Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) is far from being under control. Need was felt to identify the issues and make necessary changes to address them,” Trai had said in its discussion paper.
The sector regulator’s discussion paper on UCC had outlined more than two dozen questions aimed at creating systems for registration of tele-marketers and to make complaint redressal more robust, efficient and less time-consuming.
It had also noted that present redressal systems were not working and that customers were receiving unsolicited communication despite registering the preference for not receiving them.
The regulator had also noted that customers were getting new kinds of unsolicited calls from auto-diallers, robo-calls and silent calls which a customer might find even more irritating than voice calls from a human being.
In the consultation paper, Trai had also red-flagged a major issue regarding consent that companies take from customers. By getting customers to agree to clauses like `by any means’ and in `perpetuity’, these companies misuse the provision to send messages on a regular basis. No robust mechanism is in place to keep a record of the consent so that it is non-repudiable, it had said.
While the telecom regulator has been looking at the issue of pesky messages and unsolicited calls since 2007, it brought out the first regulation in 2011, which was aimed at helping users identify such messaging. Telemarketers were directed not to send messages, even to consumers who had not opted for receiving such messages, between 9 pm and 9 am.