5 Things You Should Know About the New Telemarketing Law

Singapore – The Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA) establishes a Do Not Call (DNC) registry which will come into effect on 2 January 2014. The registration scheme will cover Singapore numbers only. It protects an individual’s privacy against telemarketers.

Here are five things everyone should know before it comes into force.

For Consumers

    1. Upon registering your personal number with the DNC registry, businesses would not be able to send you unsolicited messages. The legal term for these messages is ‘specified message’. A message is a ‘specified message’ if it has the purpose of offering to supply, advertising or promoting:
      1. goods or services;
      2. land, or an interest in land; or
      3. business or investment opportunity.


    1. The DNC registry covers voice calls to residential landlines, mobile phone lines and fax lines, as well as text messages and fax messages. E-mail addresses are not covered. The DNC registry does not cover business-to-business advertisements. A telemarketer is not permitted to call you if you have registered your personal mobile phone number in the registry, but they may still call your business number.


    1. The DNC registry only applies when either the sender or the recipient of the message (or both) is in Singapore. The definition of ‘sender’ includes a company which authorises another to send messages on its behalf. Therefore, if you receive a message from an overseas number which has been authorised by a Singapore company, you would be able to report the company for a breach of the registry.


    1. If you have given your express consent to any business to receive advertisements from them through a personal number, they would be allowed to contact you on that number about their products and/or services even if you have registered that number in the DNC register. This consent, however, has to be clear and unambiguous. It can also be withdrawn anytime by giving notice to the business.


    1. If you have given your consent to a specific business entity prior to the DNC registry provisions coming into effect, this will override your DNC registration. You would need to expressly withdraw your consent with the specific organisation.


For Businesses

    1. Businesses have a duty to check if a number they are about to send a message to is in the DNC registry. This is the case even if the business has contracted another organisation, for example a telemarketing company, local or overseas; to do so on its behalf.


    1. For the first six months of implementation, business entities can use a verified list for 60 days. After that, it will be 30 days. Sending a message to a number on the DNC register attracts a fine of $10,000.


    1. Certain types of messages are not included under the DNC registry. They include pure market survey/research messages, reminder messages, messages which facilitate, complete or confirm a transaction the consumer has undertaken or agreed to undertake, messages which provide warranty, safety or security information, messages which provide information as to the balance of an account the consumer may have with the business.


    1. Consent given by an individual to receive “specified messages” are invalid if they have been obtained:
      1. through use of misleading or false information; or
      2. adjudged to be an unreasonable condition in the provision of goods, services, land, interest in land or opportunity.


  1. Anonymous callers and unidentified numbers are no longer allowed. There must be clear and accurate information identifying the entity sending the message and how to contact them. Also, all identification and contact information must be valid for 30 days from the date of sending.

For more information, please contact george@georgehwangllc.com.