Do-Not-Call registry: Customers can still block messages under exemption order

SINGAPORE - Individuals can still block unsolicited calls and messages by signing up with the Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry despite the new exemption order, clarified the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC).

The commission released a set of guidelines on Thursday that will allow businesses to send marketing texts and faxes to customers with whom they have an ongoing relationship, without the need to check the DNC Registry.

But consumers will not be receiving these messages if their phone numbers are on the registry, said the PDPC in a statement on Friday.

The commission also emphasised that several conditions must be fulfilled for organisations to send messages under the exemption order, which will kick in on Jan 2.

One condition is that only messages about related products and services can be sent. A bank, for instance, is allowed to send telemarketing messages about a credit card rewards programme to its existing credit card customers.

Each message must contain an opt-out facility, which when used by a recipient prevents the sender from relying on the exemption order to continue sending other marketing messages to the recipient within a stated timeframe.

The exemption order also does not allow companies to send marketing messages about products and services that are irrelevant to the subject of the ongoing relationship they have with their customers.

A one-off transaction between an individual and a business is not sufficient to constitute an ongoing relationship, and the exemption order will not stand once an ongoing relationship has ceased.

The PDPC added that only specified text messages and specified fax messages are allowed under the exemption order. Specified messages sent via voice calls, which tend to be more intrusive, are not exempted.