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Nov 26, 2012, 03.50 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

What you need to know about pesky calls, SMSs!

We were just reproducing the text of an ‘interesting’ SMS we had received a couple of days ago. And we assure you, this was entirely, completely unsolicited!

Runjhun Noopur
Akosha is an online
consumer forum

Hi, I am Reshma. Will you be my ‘fraand’?

Don’t worry! We mean no offence to the Reshmas of the country. We were just reproducing the text of an ‘interesting’ SMS we had received a couple of days ago. And we assure you, this was entirely, completely unsolicited!

The trouble with pesky calls and SMS is their eerily accurate timing. They seem to have been timed to cause maximum disturbance and inconvenience. And hence, every time you are rushing towards a deadline or are in an important meeting or simply in a deep, delightful slumberyour phone is bound to buzz with a pesky SMS or a call, depending on how (un)lucky you are at that point of time.

With Mr. Kapil Sibal’s admission that even he is troubled by pesky SMSs (Read Pesky Call/SMS Alert! Brace Yourself, Even Kapil Sibal Is Not Spared!),the mammoth proportions of this issue was clearly brought to fore. TRAI had promised to come up with fresh regulations to curb this menace and enable consumers to save themselves from the inconvenience. True to its promise, the fresh regulations were brought out earlier this month. We give you a low down on the salient features of these regulations.

As per the latest guidelines, in order to curb the misuse of the concessional tariff plans for bulk users, a price restraint has been placed on sending of more than one hundred SMS per day per SIM at a concessional rate.  The subscriber is free to send SMSs beyond this number, however, all such SMSs sent beyond one hundred SMS per day per SIM shall be charged at a rate not lower than 50 paise per SMS.

Access providers have also been mandated to put in place a solution that will enable that not more than 200 commercial SMSs with similar digital signature are sent in an hour. This, however, is not applicable to non-commercial SMSs.

Both these measures seem to be an effective way to curb sending out of bulk SMSs without essentially curbing the freedom of expression, a concern that was expressed by the Supreme Court in a verdict against earlier TRAI regulations in this regard.

Most significantly for the consumers, filing a complaint against pesky callers has been made easy. The consumers can now be lodged by simply forwarding the pesky SMS (technically called UCC-Unsolicited Commercial Communication) to 1909 after appending the telephone number and date of receipt. A dedicated complaint registering system has to be put in place by the service providers.

It has been only a few days since these guidelines have come into force. We will have to wait and watch to see if these guidelines do have an impact or they too end up biting the dust like previous times (e.g. DND facility). However, in the interest of the consumers, it is widely hoped that these regulations will be as effective in implementation as they seem on paper.

READ MORE ON  SMS, UCC, Runjhun Noopur, Akosha

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