The phone rings and after logging in it says, “Hello, can we hear each other well?” At that moment, the caller often becomes more alert – that’s how the calls from the so-called scammers begin. However, from July 1st, they are over, in the Czech Republic a ban on telemarketing comes into force if the called person does not give explicit consent to it in the public list. Without it, it is assumed that a person is not interested in marketing offers.
Telesmejdi are calling because of cheaper energy, various tariffs or advantageous investments. They are fierce, they lure the key “yes” from the called person, which is often enough for them to agree to close the offer, and if during such an unsolicited phone call the called person asks where they got his phone number, the usually vague answer is that “in the database” or “was randomly generated”.
However, since the beginning of July, when the amendment to the Electronic Communications Act comes into effect, this procedure has been prohibited in the case of marketing advertising or other similar offers, and there is a risk of a fine of up to 50 million crowns. Officially, the amendment has been in effect since January 1, but companies had time to adapt to it for half of this year.
So how key is this change? Until now, it has been the case that those who do not wish to be harassed by marketing calls must explicitly express their disapproval in the so-called public subscriber list. The principle is now reversed. Without clear permission in this list, on the contrary, it is automatically assumed that telemarketing is harassing the called party.
“The amendment will bring greater consumer protection in the form of stricter rules for harassing marketing calls,” Petr Šmelhaus, head of the legal department of the dTest organization, said earlier for the online daily Aktuálně.cz.
However, the ban established by law has clear boundaries and does not apply to all calls. In addition to calling numbers without specified consent in the list, randomly generated numbers are also newly taboo. Calls to obtain consent to marketing advertising are also prohibited.
On the contrary, the amendment does not apply to calls, for example, for the purpose of public opinion polls or calls from existing suppliers of goods or services. “However, it is always the case that no public opinion poll may turn into a marketing call, unless the participant in the public list expressly wishes so,” emphasized Šmelhaus.
Make phone calls with care
According to experts, there is no need to worry about calling, just use common sense.
For example, if an entrepreneur publishes phone numbers on a website, he can then expect that people can interpret this as providing a contact for business offers. It will still be possible to call existing customers, clients, patients or acquaintances – i.e. again if the reason for such calls is other than a marketing offer to a participant from the public list.
In the same way, people should remain cautious while talking on the phone and avoid expressions like “I agree” or “yes” when talking to unknown persons. It is still possible to conclude a contract over the phone, for example with an operator.
“We hope that unsolicited marketing calls will stop completely after July 1, 2022,” says dTest director Eduarda Hekšová. “The threat of a fine is considerable, even though the Czech Telecommunications Authority would probably impose it at lower levels first,” he points out.
If telespoofs call people from their lists from July, they must inform them about the complete processing of their personal data. Simply put, companies must now be able to document the consent granted. If they do not do so, it is possible to complain to the Office for Personal Data Protection.
“And he has sufficient tools at his disposal to enforce the law, including the ability to impose large fines up to a maximum of 20 million euros or four percent of the company’s total annual turnover,” adds dTest.
What the call ban applies to:
- to numbers from the public list, if the subscriber has not given prior consent to the possibility of marketing calls,
- to randomly generated numbers, because the law also considers the random generation of telephone numbers to be the creation of a subscriber list,
- to numbers from the list of telephone numbers without other identification data,
- to numbers from a list containing telephone numbers or personal or identifying information of participants who have not indicated that they wish to be contacted for marketing purposes.