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Bajaj Finance faces backlash over excessive pesky calls, messages

People are extremely frustrated and annoyed by unsolicited calls and messages from Bajaj Finance and are sharing their ordeal on Twitter.

“…Russia Ukraine war can end but calls from Bajaj Finance will never end..” tweeted a Twitter user, Dr Prashant Mishra, last week.

“I don’t know what will it take for you to stop harassing customers. Yet I am getting calls and msg’s from bajaj finance,” wrote another user.

“Stop it….I have tried all forms to request not to call. It’s too much,” said another, while attaching a screenshot of a call from Bajaj Finance, labeled spam on Truecaller.

One user, Ashok Mishra, briefly ran a campaign-sorts (a promoted tweet) urging people to tag Sanjiv Bajaj, Bajaj Finserv CMD, to help block what he described as “unlimited inconvenience his telemarketers have caused to common citizens.”

Mishra did not respond to our queries about his experience with Bajaj Finance, and the Twitter campaign at the time of writing.

In some cases, such as this, people have alleged that Bajaj Finance’s representatives are bypassing the TRAI’s DND listing, a mechanism that allows users to register their phone numbers with the regulator, and block unsolicited commercial communications (UCC).

It appears that such tweets i.e. getting unsolicited calls from Bajaj Finance – have increased in the last few weeks or so.

Surprisingly, Bajaj Finance has been just responding to such tweets asking them to fill up a form to register themselves in their “Do not Call/SMS” list so that they can exclude their contact details from promotional communication. But some users say this does not work.

In an email response to our queries, Bajaj Finance’s Grievance redressal team said, “In reference to your query related to promotional call, we have taken appropriate action on the account & would like to inform you that all promotional calls will be stopped from our end in the next 48 to 72 hours.”

The team also sought other details such as mobile number on which you are getting promotional calls, incoming mobile from where calls are received related to offer, city name, and products for which receiving offer calls.

“TRAI has a facility in which a consumer can register his/her preference in National Customer Preference Register (NCPR) also known as DND registry by dialling 1909 or by sending SMS to 1909 by calling dedicated IVR 1909. Customers can also register using TRAI DND 2.0 mobile App,” the response added.

That said, the menace of unsolicited calls and messages is not a new thing in India, which is now home to over 600 million smartphone users, and more than 1.2 billion mobile phone users. Since the wide availability of mobile phones, many companies have turned to telecalling, inundating users with unwanted calls and messages.

In the past, government bodies have taken multiple actions to tackle this problem. For instance, it launched a DND Services app in 2016 to help users register pesky call complaints. However, it appears that little has changed since then.

Besides telemarketing and promotional calls, cybercriminals are also spamming users via SMS as well as WhatsApp with fraudulent job offers and schemes. The government is already cracking down on fake loan applications.

According to Truecaller, a popular Caller ID mobile app, India was the fourth most affected country by spam calls in 2021. Brazil topped the list followed by Peru and Ukraine.

“In our deep dive, one statistic jumped out right away: over 202 million spam calls were made by just one spammer in India. That’s over 664,000 people that were disturbed by spam calls every day and 27,000 people every hour – from just one phone number,” the company said in a blog post.

In September 2022, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw promised that the government would soon resolve the problem of unwanted calls and messages. TRAI, in the meanwhile, is scheduled to meet telecom firms on March 27 on the development and implementation of UCC detection services.

Bajaj Finance can probably consider itself a little unlucky for becoming the lightning rod on an issue that many other firms are guilty of. With 7.8 million new loans , and a customer franchise of 66 million by the end of Q3 (December 2022) as per its claims, the firm has been digging deeper and wider to sustain growth. With 3.14 million customer additions in the same period, the firm has added almost 35,000 customers a day in the last quarter. The brouhaha over its aggressive telemarketing might be the first of many indicators that growth is peaking, or it simply needs to find a smarter way to sell soon. EN Trackr

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