The UAE announces controls and mechanisms for regulating marketing via telephone

Omar Abbas - | Technology

The Ministry of Economy, in collaboration with the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, has introduced a new decision aimed at regulating telemarketing via phone calls.

Introduction of New Telemarketing Regulations

This decision outlines specific controls and mechanisms to govern telemarketing activities and includes a comprehensive list of violations and corresponding administrative penalties. The implementation of these new regulations is set to begin in mid-August 2024.

The newly issued decision details a graduated system of administrative penalties for those who violate the telemarketing regulations. These penalties range from initial warnings to significant fines that can reach up to Dh150,000. Additionally, companies found in breach of these regulations may face severe consequences, such as partial or complete suspension of their business activities, cancellation of their licenses, removal from the commercial registry, disconnection of telecommunications services, and even a ban on accessing telecommunications services in the UAE for up to one year.

A critical aspect of the new regulations is the requirement for telemarketing companies to obtain prior approval from the relevant authorities before engaging in telemarketing activities. This step ensures that companies are compliant with the new rules and helps prevent unauthorized marketing operations. The aim is to create a more controlled and accountable environment for telemarketing practices.

The decision also prohibits individuals from making marketing calls using phones registered in their own names. All telemarketing calls must originate from phones registered under the name of a licensed telemarketing company. This measure enhances accountability and makes it easier to trace the source of telemarketing calls, ensuring that violators can be identified and penalized accordingly.

The regulations impose strict timeframes for making marketing calls. Telemarketing calls are permitted only between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., reducing the likelihood of consumers being disturbed during early mornings or late evenings. Additionally, it is strictly forbidden to call numbers that are registered on the Do Not Call Registry (DNCR). This registry allows consumers to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls, providing them with greater control over their privacy.

The new regulations also specify rules regarding follow-up calls. If a consumer declines a service or product during the initial call, the telemarketer is prohibited from making any follow-up calls. Furthermore, if the consumer does not answer the call or ends the call, the telemarketing company is allowed to make a maximum of one call per day to that consumer. These rules are designed to prevent harassment and excessive intrusions into consumers' lives.

Focus on consumer protection

The decision reflects the UAE government's commitment to protecting consumer rights and ensuring a more respectful and controlled marketing environment. By implementing these stringent measures, the government aims to reduce the number of unwanted calls that consumers receive and to ensure that telemarketing practices are conducted in a transparent and accountable manner.

Impact on the Telemarketing Industry

Telemarketing companies operating in the UAE must now navigate these regulations carefully to ensure full compliance and avoid the significant penalties associated with non-compliance. This new regulatory framework is expected to lead to a more disciplined and consumer-friendly telemarketing industry in the UAE, aligning with broader efforts to enhance consumer protection and privacy in the digital age.

The decision by the Ministry of Economy and the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority introduces essential controls and mechanisms for regulating telemarketing via phone calls. With implementation set for mid-August 2024, these new regulations aim to protect consumers and create a more accountable telemarketing industry. Companies will need to adapt to these changes to ensure they meet the new standards and avoid substantial penalties.

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Omar Abbas
Omar Abbas
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