New advisory guidelines issued for Do-Not-Call registry

New advisory guidelines issued for Do-Not-Call registry

SINGAPORE - Organisations and consumers can now refer to a set of advisory guidelines to better understand the requirements of the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry.

Through explanations and examples of how the DNC provisions may apply in different scenarios, the guidelines will cover key issues such as the concept of obtaining clear and unambiguous consent for telemarketing, what businesses can do to obtain such consent, as well as requirements for telemarketing messages to include identification and contact information.

For example, the guidelines illustrate how businesses may identify themselves and provide details on how recipients can contact them in a telemarketing message.

"The advisory guidelines will help organisations in understanding and complying with the requirements of the provisions relating to the DNC Registry, when the provisions come into force on 2 January 2014," said Mr Leong Keng Thai, Chairman of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC).

Under the guidelines, there is also a new exemption order that lets organisations send text or fax messages on related products and services to those with whom they have an ongoing relationship.

They can do so without the need to check the DNC Registry.

A bank or credit card company, for example, will be able to send its existing credit card holders telemarketing messages about related services, such as a rewards programme for credit card holders.

As the exemption order does not apply to voice calls, organisations will still be required to check against the DNC Registry before making telemarketing calls to promote related products and services.

PDPC said it recognises that consumers, notwithstanding their registration with DNC Registry, may wish to continue receiving such information in a minimally intrusive manner, via text or fax messages.

The move comes after PDPC also received feedback from organisations on their customers' expectation for such messages to be sent.

Without this exemption, individuals may miss such messages if they are registered with the DNC Registry, and if the organisation, which they have an ongoing relationship with, did not obtain clear consent to send telemarketing messages to their telephone numbers.

However, organisations have to provide information in their messages on how consumers can opt out of such messages, and allow consumers to opt out using the same medium by which the message is received.

Upon receiving an individual's opt-out request, organisations must stop sending such messages to that individual within a specified timeframe, PDPC said.

"The exemption order provides greater flexibility for organisations to serve their customers in a minimally intrusive manner, and the DNC Registry advisory guidelines aim to help them along with respect to telemarketing," said Mr Leong.

Full details of the DNC Registry advisory guidelines, including information about the exemption order, can be found on www.pdpc.gov.sg/resources/advisory-guidelines.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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