Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Economic policy research and advocacy group CUTS International has strongly supported the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to penalise mobile operators for unwanted calls to consumers.

In a release here, CUTS secretary-general Pradeep S. Mehta said that even after registering for the ‘Do not call’ facility consumers were harassed by telemarketers.

A snap survey done by CUTS in New Delhi and Jaipur showed that over half the mobile customers, who had registered for the facility, continued to be bombarded by cheap loan offers, life insurance, credit cards from various national and international companies.

This was other than SMS text messages of telemarketers, which too were covered under the ban.

All mobile companies sell the data of their subscribers to telemarketers/service providers and thus make extra money.

In a letter to TRAI, CUTS had demanded that the accounts of mobile operators be examined for income on sale of subscriber data, which was against all norms and invaded the right to privacy.

“The claim made by operators that they are not responsible for such calls is hogwash because the subscriber data is sold by them to telemarketers and service providers,” said Mr. Mehta.

“Callers not trained”

Besides, the callers were not properly trained by the telemarketers to ask for permission to speak.

“The TRAI should take some drastic measures, including levying of punitive damages on the operators,” Mr. Mehta said.