Well, those moments of irritation are set to disappear forever. Come 2 January 2014, unsolicited telemarketing calls or messages of any commercial nature will be legally banned in Singapore under the newly passed Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). Under the new Act, consumers like us will have the option to opt for our telephone numbers to be listed on the DNCR, in order to block out those pesky messages.
While the Act takes effect only in January next year, registration has already opened and as of 3 Dec, 67,000 unique numbers (and counting) have already signed up, according to a PDPA spokesman. Listing your telephone number on the DNCR protects you from receiving those unwelcome telemarketing calls and SMS on your telephone, mobile phone, or fax machine. You may choose to register on all three registers (No Voice Call, No Text Message, No Fax Message), or on any combination of the three.
Registering your number with the DNCR is free and simple. You may choose from any of the following three methods to register:
- DNCR website
Simply log on to www.dnc.gov.sg and follow the steps to register on the DNCR. You can also choose to deregister online.
- SMS Registration
You may send an SMS with the message “DNC” to the following number: 78772. This registers you on all 3 registers.
- Phone Registration
You may call the toll-free number, 1800 248 0772, to register on all 3 registers.
Important!: in order to complete registration, you must have access to the device you are registering the number with, for all three methods.
At this moment, registration is only allowed for Singapore numbers. While we wished we could give a 100% stamp of guarantee that registering means no telemarketing calls with immediate effect, the Personal Data Protection Commission Singapore (PDPC) website advises the public to give up to 30 days for the changes to take effect. It is also important to know what the PDPA does not cover. The PDPC’s website (www.pdpc.gov.sg) makes clear that the following messages are not covered:
- messages for pure market survey or research,
- messages that promote charitable or religious causes,
- personal messages sent by individuals
- public messages sent by government agencies
- political messages
So if you have received any messages from A-E, do not attempt to report it to PDPC, because the actions are not considered illegal.
While the DNCR is a major victory in advancing a little more of our privacy rights(+1 point to the government), it spells doomsday for those in the telemarketing line. Having worked previously as a former insurance telemarketer myself, I can imagine how much more difficult it will be for these guys to secure new business leads through cold-calling. As if having to call over 400 telephone numbers on any given working day to meet the daily sales quota isn’t tedious enough, the new PDPA requirements means that organisations who still wish to keep telemarketing as a sales channel, will have to refer to the registry first to ensure that the numbers they are calling is not listed. In addition, the penalty for non-compliance is severe, as organisations that flout these rules are liable for a financial penalty of up to $1 million.
With the full force of legislation backing our privacy rights in this regard, I am thankful indeed that I have left the life of a telemarketer some time ago. And hey, I have just registered my number too on the DNCR.
Join me in doing the same too if you haven’t!