Channel NewsAsia

Exemption to DNC Registry comes with “strict conditions”: Lawrence Wong

Companies can send marketing messages to their existing customers who are on the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, but this comes with "strict conditions”, according to Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.

SINGAPORE: Companies can send marketing messages to their existing customers who are on the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, but this comes with "strict conditions”, according to Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.

The exemption only applies to SMS and faxes, so companies still cannot make voice calls to consumers on the DNC registry.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Mr Wong said the exemption only applies to companies that have an ongoing relationship with the consumer, for instance, a subscriber.

One-off transactions, like buying a TV set, do not count as an ongoing relationship.

Companies must also give consumers an opt-out option in the same message.

Mr Wong, who is also Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, said: "The intent behind the exemption is to try to meet the preferences of as many consumers as possible.

"Without the exemption, when individuals register on the Do Not Call registry, it would be an "all or nothing" choice, either to block or receive all types of telemarketing messages."

MP for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah asked how companies that flout the law will be taken to task.

Dr Lee said: "In the event that we still receive SMS -- for example, just recently I received an SMS from a tuition centre. I asked, do I have an ongoing business relationship with you? There was no reply.

“So I would like to ask how do people report cases like these? And what enforcement action is going to be taken?"

In response, Mr Wong said: "Enforcement is indeed an issue for something like this, it's not unique to us. All countries that have set up DNC registries face this issue and grapple with this issue. It's an important issue we need to understand better.

“PDPC (Personal Data Protection Commission) is committed to follow up on each and every complaint or feedback that it receives, and it will do the investigations for each and every case, and follow up with prosecution if necessary."

Members of the public can send feedback or report errant organisations to PDPC by email (info@pdpc.gov.sg) or through their hotline (6377 3131). 

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna