In a city as densely populated and hectic as Singapore, personal space is a luxury and the slightest annoyance can become the bane of one’s existence. So, it comes to no surprise that over 67,000 consumers signed up for the Do Not Call (DNC) registry within the 18 hours it went live.
To those who continue to receive incessant and unsolicited sales calls and texts, and sometimes in spite of unsubscribing, installing MisterNumber and having private numbers, the DNC registry is a long time coming. The registry now allows people with Singapore phone numbers to have more control over their phones (read: blood pressure/mental health) by explicitly registering their disinterest for marketing calls or messages.
Think of it as a telemarketing contraceptive for phones.
The DNC provisions will come into effect on 2 January 2014. However, like many contraceptives, its efficacy is dependent on certain factors, including how you use it. For example, according to the FAQ for consumers on the DNC website, you will continue to receive telemarketing messages after registration with the DNC Registry if you have given an organisation your clear and unambiguous consent to receive such messages. You will also receive messages for services that you’ve purchased and overseas calls.
Otherwise, if you have registered or will register with the DNC registry until 2 July 2014, you will continue to receive the final trickling of unsolicited marketing calls and messages for up to 60 days after registration. This grace period is meant to give telemarketers sufficient time to get acquainted with the requirements of the DNC registry. Individuals who register after 2 July 2014 may continue to get said calls or messages for up to 30 days.
So far, so good – for the consumers, that is. But what does this mean for organizations?
With effect from 2 January 2014, and under the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA), whether you’re in Singapore or overseas, you must check the registry to ensure that you’re not calling someone on the DNC list. To do so, you must first apply for a DNC account.
The one-time registration fee is not hefty – S$30 and S$60 for local and overseas organisations respectively. For that, you get 500 free credits to check 500 numbers every year. If that is not enough, you may purchase more credits at pay per use or pre-paid rates, ranging between $0.01 – $0.025 a pop. This could come up to a lot if your distribution list is extensive.
However, you risk facing an even heftier fine for not checking the registry. The price you pay for every complaint is S$10,000 – incidentally the cost of a million pre-paid credits. The maximum penalty is S$1 million, so please don’t live dangerously.
Every organization is allowed to have only one main DNC account. From there, you can create as many sub-accounts and distribute credits to them.
Fortunately, for you, emails and snail mails are not covered within the scope of the DNC registry.
Knowledge is power. Find out more at the DNC Registry website.