At Exotel, we have many clients who come up to us and ask, why can we not call DND numbers using our ExoPhone? Their contention is that they only want to call customers who registered with them. I order from many E-commerce/Travel portals and hate it when they call me on my DND registered Mobile number even if I have not asked for a call back. They call on the pretext of taking feedback and then would talk about some new offers they have for me.
Currently knowingly or unknowingly most companies flout these DND norms and have an excuse ready like my competitor is doing it! I am calling my customers to take their feedback and not to promote my product/service. Hope this post will bring some clarity to these issues.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has now included telecom operator and marketers under the ambit of SMS SPAM regulations. As per the new norms, Telecom operators will be fined Rs 5000 per complaint if Promotional/Bulk SMS is sent by a user who is not a registered telemarketer. The rationale here is that it is the telecom operators responsibility to verify the identity of the telemarketer, and there is still a financial incentive for telecom operators to allow Bulk SMS and Spam, because of which a disincentive needs to be created.
TRAI found that the unregistered telemarketers were using “modem farming‟ for sending unsolicited commercial messages. Modem farming refers to the practice of using multiple SIM cards in a single modem to send multiple SMSs. It is technically possible to identify bulk promotional SMSs having similar characters or strings or variants (called “signature‟) and block them. TRAI has mandated telecom operators to put in place technical solutions that restrict the delivery of such SMSs from any source or number over their network.
For bulk mobile connections, physical verification of the subscriber has been made mandatory before activation of the connection. Further, bulk user premises have to be inspected by the TSPs (Telephony Service Providers) at least once in six months and the TSPs should satisfy themselves about the bonafide use of such facilities as per the license condition. It is the duty and responsibility of telecom operator to ensure that such misuse does not happen in their network chain.
To ensure that the Telecom operators implement systems for proper checks of the CAFs together with the Proof of Address and Proof of Identity, the Authority has mandated TSPs to submit to the Authority by the 15th day of every month the list of all bulk connections provided during the preceding month.
The other key development here is regarding customers of telemarketers. Typically, such messages have numbers to be called as a part of message. TRAI has contended that these numbers belong to the clients of the telemarketer, and that in case of verified complaints, these numbers too must be disconnected, irrespective of telecom operator. For example, I received a message from +91-92222XXXXX, and the message asked me to call either of two numbers to avail of the service being marketed: 95600XXXX and 0223033XXXX. Earlier, only +91-92222XXXXX would have been banned, but with this new regulation, both 95600XXXX and 0223033XXXX will also be banned, after notices are served for the first and second complaint.
In case of any DND violation on voice calls, operator can disconnect all the telecom resources terminated at the location at which the number is installed. Hence companies like us have to enforce strict DND policies for our customers since we share infrastructure with many customers. Violation from one customer will lead to service disruption for many others.
One way in which you can make sure you can call your customers as of now if you are using Exotel is to request your customer to either give you a missed call on your business number or ask them to send an Incoming SMS on your business mobile number (in case it is SMS enabled) because the new TRAI regulation has introduced severe penalties for companies flouting these rules as described above.