Do-Not-Call Registry not for me - for now

I do not know if you get a lot of unsolicited SMSes from companies but I receive no more than five a week.

That is hardly a nuisance factor even as I also believe that - contrary to a popular perception that they are an unnecessary distraction - there is often some value in getting regular updates about products and services.

So though many folks have signed up for the Do-Not-Call Registry which allows them to opt out of getting SMSes, voice calls and faxes, I do not intend to jump on the bandwagon.

I detest unsolicited phone calls and have learnt to avoid calls from unlisted numbers or numbers I do not recognise - dead giveaways that someone is about to peddle something over the line.

But when it comes to SMSes, I get a kick out of being informed about everything from property launches and banking or insurance products to F&B promotions in the neighbourhood or invites to specific events.

It does not bother me that these messages may come from folks with whom I have had no prior contact or relationship, though I sometimes wonder how they got my mobile number.

I actually enjoy reading the SMS pitches - at my own leisure, unlike the annoying shrill of a phone call demanding to be answered right away - to get an update on what is happening in the commercial world and evaluate how a product or service might improve the way I live, consume or invest.

Who knows, I could get a first-mover advantage from knowing something before others or acting ahead of competitors before a promotional or validity period expires.

For instance, bonds that yield, say, 4 per cent annual interest, are in high demand in today's climate of super-low fixed deposit rates and are often snapped up quickly.

And, truth be told, these SMSes also save me time from not having to uncover such information myself.

Companies today, with the help of data analytics firms, are also a lot more attuned in targeting their customers, which explains why I rarely get SMSes about stuff that I have minimal interest in.

But I also understand why many prefer maximum privacy and why they complained recently about the Personal Data Protection

Commission supposedly making a U-turn in allowing vendors to continue to SMS or fax them despite signing up for the DNC registry.

I do not know if these people face a bigger deluge of SMSes than me or my pals, and cannot wait to be rid of such a nightmare.

But I think the bigger evil actually lies in spam e-mail which is not curtailed by the Personal Data Protection Commission for now.

E-mails are easier to be sent out non-discriminately by the thousand at a relatively low cost, compared with the cost of sending an SMS, and it is these that are a big irritant, given the time taken to delete them.

Still, despite the quibbling, the DNC represents another great victory for the consumer and comes in the wake of other popularly received measures.

Property agents and financial advisers must now pass examinations and be licensed.

The regulation of the time-share business is also a boon while the lemon law ensures buyers have recourse when they end up with defective or shoddy products.

The Do-Not-Call Registry has its place, but for now I do not need its protection.

Do not call me, but go ahead and send me an SMS.


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