Telemarketers trapped

telemarketer.jpgRam Gopal Sharma (60) was crossing a heavy traffic road in Delhi with medicines for his ailing wife. His cellphone suddenly rings. “Good morning sir. ABCD bank. Do you want a personal loan? He politely says sorry and not interested. On the other end the unsolicited caller could not hear what he was saying. Repeatedly she was saying, “Pardon me sir. How much amount you want from us?” Suddenly a two wheeler rams in and injures Sharma severely. In another incident, Srikanth got an unwanted call from an insurance company while he was in his father’s funeral procession. Like these hundreds of cellphone owners face the harassment of telemarketers everyday and end up in accidents. Without taking prior permission the telemarketers ram into people’s lives and disturb them endlessly. Taking note of the telemarketing menace, the Supreme Court had ordered the Telecom Regulartory Authority of India (TRAI) to prevail upon the telephonic harassers. Now the national call registry has been put in place. Within a week nearly five million cellphone users have stamped their name in the “do not call register” Although only 5% of the 232 million cellphone users get calls from telemarketing company the depth of the problem is severe. The telemarketing companies employ nearly 3 lakh people who enjoy fatty salary after higher secondary or graduation.

In India there are 25,000 companies engaged in the telemarketing business. Out of this 10% are performing out bound calls. To start a telemarketing company a person needs Rs. 2 to Rs. 5 crore. Working from the database of people sold by firms, the telemarketers are ruthless in pursuing their commercial interests. Without understanding space and time they pounce on the people. This really irritated many people and made them to lodge a complaint in the court. Not getting a concrete response from the TRAI and government authorities, Supreme Court had stepped into punish the erring companies. According to the new rule, the first time unwanted call attracts Rs. 500 punishment and Rs. 1000 for the second call and for the third time, the telemarketer line will be disabled. This range of fines will ensure the minimalisation of harassments.

Out of the 25,000 telemarketers only 15,000 have registered with TRAI so far. The early registration of the rest of the telemarketers will help the telecom regulartory body to implement the rules of Supreme Court fully.

Now the fear is that the telemarketers after facing heat from the urban customers will hunt for rural population which may be aware of the do no call register. A wide publicity by TRAI among the rural cellphone owners is a must. May the TRAI can send a SMS to all the cellphone owners at the cost of operating companies.

The telemarketer does not enjoy life throughout. He/she makes 150 to 200 calls a day and get less Rs.10,000. The new order by the supreme court will prevent the entry of the young graduates in the field.

Not to let the trouble to spell the end of telemarketing industry, professionals in the field are devising strategies to face the heat. Info Vision is one such company. It was started 15 years back with 5 people and personal savings of Aditya Gupta. Today it has 9000 people across 23 states and 1000 people in USA).

Gupta says “As an organisation we make a large number of calls. And there are costs involved in making each call. With DNC we are in a positive situation, because our agents will not waste time in reaching out to people who don’t want to buy through telemarketing”

Source:  The Economic Times, 7 September 2007, p.1

That’s a very positive analysis of the lengthy arm of the law. Hopefullly any new methods of the telemarketers should not encroach into the private spaces of indivuduals. If this basic rule is safeguarded then there is no need for paper laws.    


1 Comment

  1. +00002010-10-29T22:14:26+00:00312010bUTCFri, 29 Oct 2010 22:14:26 +0000 2, 2008 at 7.27 p10

    when i take personal loans i would sometimes make some of my properties as loan collaterials-`:

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