Ringing in business, with brakes on

Ringing in business, with brakes on

You are in the middle of a meeting when your phone rings and a polite voice on the other end offers you a loan, a credit card or an apartment that you don't need.

Starting yesterday, when the national Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry was opened for sign-ups, you have been given the option of saying no, equally politely, to such calls.

The catch is that the rings may get more persistent before they stop.

Consumers can list their never-call-me phone numbers with the registry for free.

As of 6pm, more than 67,000 numbers had been registered, said a spokesman for the Personal Data Protection Commission.

But businesses must stop unsolicited marketing - through voice calls, text messages and faxes - to numbers in the registry only from Jan 2 at the earliest.

One lawyer told MyPaper that people may be called more frequently in the meantime.

Mr Bryan Tan, a partner at Pinsent Masons MPillay, said he has seen a growing number of contact-dealing firms selling their databases at a discount.

"They're trying to reduce prices now to get people to buy, because it's really their last chance," he said.

"Logic will tell you that, if you've got a database that's running out of life, you are going to try to monetise it as much as you can."

But others argued that a surge in telemarketing calls, if any, could be due to the holiday season.

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