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TRAI to Take Steps Against Pesky Calls

Telecom regulator TRAI said it will take strong measures within a few days to restrain the threat of unsolicited communications. "In the next few days, hard measures will be in use," TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar told PTI after meeting top industry officials here on the subject. He said stringent action will also be taken against unregistered telemarketers. Despite repeated attempts to check pesky calls and SMSs, consumers have received little respite. Khullar met chief executives of all the mobile operators and discussed the matter of pesky communications, along with value added services (VAS) that get activated without demand from customers. TRAI came up with the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations in December 2010, and nine amendments have been completed to it, but there has been little interval to consumers. TRAI has also written to companies in whose name unwanted communication was made but it did not obtain any response from them, he said. Khullar said he has expressed to operators to set in place within 10-15 days the mechanism permitted by TRAI for the start of VAS. As per TRAI norms, telecom operators want to obtain explicit permission of consumers "through consumer originated SMS or e-mail or FAX or in writing within 24 hrs of activation of the value added service and charge the customer only if the verification is received from him" for subscribing it. As per the rule, operators have to get permission of subscribers before activating any VAS and deactivate it without charging for it if no approval is received from them. Mobile operators were believed to meet these guidelines by February 2 this year. The operators did come out with a number 155223 on which consumers can call and obtain their services deactivated. Without naming any particular corporation, the TRAI Chairman said only two operators have obeyed to the rules.

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