HYDERABAD: Are you annoyed by spam calls and text messages from stores that you had shopped at? Ask the stores to remove you from their marketing outreach list and they would politely reply saying it’s not possible. For telecom subscribers, the existing options to keep a lid on spam calls and text messages are limited.
However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also come up with a Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2018 draft that aims to levy `76 lakh per month on operators failing to curb spam calls and text messages. The draft guidelines also propose the adoption of blockchain technology to ensure that telemarketing messages are sent only to subscribers. The draft bill is open for public comment until June 11, 2018. Spam calls and text messages come from all quarters, from the supermarket chain you visit monthly to that one shoe store you once bought a sock from. It may be mentioned here that the bulk texting and tele-calling that many find annoying is part of telemarketing services that are registered with TRAI.
Many rely on applications, namely Truecaller to block spam calls and text messages. “If the call comes with a red label, I too mark spam and don’t pick that call up. I used to get calls to link my phone to aadhaar from my telecom operator, even if I block one number they call from another,” said Vishwajeeth Patil, a mechanical engineer.
If spam calls are unmanageable, so are spam text messages. “I get text messages from quite literally any place where I have had to provide my phone number to buy something,” said Madumitha R, a homemaker. “We only send text messages to inform our customers about our offers. It’s a management policy to do the billing once the customer provides their phone number, otherwise it cannot do the billing,” said a staff at Spar Hypermarket, Panjagutta. The staff at Big Bazar, Ameerpet and D-Mart, SR Nagar also replied along the same lines. Other than relying on applications, customers can also dial or text 1909, the toll-free number set up by TRAI.