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COAI Urges TRAI To Create Consumer Awareness On New Framework For Pesky Calls

Industry body COAI has urged the telecom regulator to come out with focused campaigns to create consumer awareness around the new framework for flagging pesky telemarketing calls, with telcos slated to soon start submission of monthly reports on user complaints.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had, earlier this month, asked telecom firms to submit a status report over complaints regarding pesky calls, on monthly basis starting September, setting in motion a monitoring system for the new framework that aims to check unwarranted telemarketing calls and messages.

“It is important that customers know how the mechanism will work. Trai should come out with customer advocacy campaigns to create awareness around the same, to make the process effective,” Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan Mathews told PTI.

Mathews said that such initiatives will need to focus on how the ‘do not disturb’ mechanism works, inform consumers about their rights and explain to them the process for registering preferences and complaints.

“The options available to customers should be explained for their benefit,” he said adding that Trai’s consumer education and protection fund could be utilised for such an initiative.

On August 6, Trai had directed all access service providers to submit regular compliance reports, with effect from month ending September 2019.

Trai has outlined the specific format in which the compliance reports need to be filled by the companies.

The parameters include the number of complaints received from customers, complaints pending resolution, complaints rejected on account of insufficient details, complaints found valid after investigation, among others.

Last year, the regulator moved to tighten the rules to curb pesky telemarketing calls and messages, asking telecom operators to leverage the blockchain technology to reduce such unwanted communications.

The overhaul of the unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) system aimed to ensure that telemarketing messages are sent only to those who have subscribed to them, and that too by authorised entities.

Operators who fail to check pesky calls and SMS menace or do not adhere to the guidelines will face a stiff penalty.

The rules lay down stringent obligations for operators, including evolving Code of Practices, maintaining records, registering customers preferences, and mandate the adoption of blockchain or the Distributed Ledger Technology.

Blockchain provides a decentralised database or digital ledger of transactions that everyone on the network can see.―New Indian Express

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