A property salesperson will be charged for sending unsolicited telemarketing messages to users in Singapore, as the authorities look to wield the rod in enforcing new privacy regulations.
The accused, who is registered with Huttons Asia, will have to turn up in the State Courts on September 24 to face 27 counts of contravening Singapore’s new personal data protection law, of which a do-not-call list is a big part.
The unnamed salesperson allegedly sent unsolicited advertisements of property developments to people who had already asked to be excluded from such messages, said the Personal Data Protection Commission today.
For end users tired of such calls and messages, this is a good sign that the authorities are tackling alleged offenders who seem unable or unwilling to check against a list of users who have already opted out of their marketing messages.
When the rules were relaxed late last year to allow organisations with “existing relationships” to continue sending marketing messages to users, many were up in arms at the change.
The new rules, it is clear now, must be backed up by enforcement to make them unambiguous to potential offenders who rely on such marketing messages to do business.
According to the authorities, 47 per cent of complaints related to the do-not-call list are directed at the real estate sector. Despite the push-back and industry lobbying about confusion in the new rules, things seem pretty clear to consumers – if they are on the list, just do not get in touch.
Now, it will be heartening for those who still receive such unwanted calls or SMSes to see offenders taken to task.
Last month, a tuition agency and its director were the first offenders to be fined S$39,000 each for sending unsolicited marketing messages to numbers on the do-not-call list.
All in, 1,700 complaints are being investigated now, out of the 3,500 filed so far. These organisations are from the property, private education, retail and other sectors, said the personal data commission.
Any person or organisation found guilty of the offence of sending unsolicited telemarketing messages to Singapore numbers without checking the do-not-call list can be fined up to S$10,000 for each message sent.
Little wonder then, that 4,500 organisations have checked their list of contacts with the registry to avoid falling afoul of the law. Only 500 did so when the registry first came into effect on January 2.