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Property salesperson to be charged for breaching 'Do Not Call' rules

AsiaOne | Monday, Sep 22, 2014

SINGAPORE - A property salesperson registered with Huttons Asia Pte Ltd is to be charged for offences relating to the Do Not Call ("DNC") Registry under the Personal Data Protection Act.

The Personal Data Protection Commission said it received complaints of unsolicited telemarketing messages allegedly sent by the property salesperson to Singapore telephone numbers that were registered with the DNC Registry.

The unsolicited telemarketing messages advertised various residential property developments in Singapore.

The property salesperson will be charged in court on September 24. He faces 27 counts of contravening section 43(1) of the PDPA, relating to the obligation to check the DNC Registry before sending any telemarketing messages to Singapore telephone numbers.

Any person or organisation found guilty of the offence is liable to a fine of up to $10,000 per message sent.

In considering the appropriate enforcement action to be taken in each case, the Commission said it takes into account various factors including the seriousness of the breach, whether the sending of unsolicited telemarketing messages were isolated incidences, the number of complaints against the organisation and whether the organisation had been co-operative after being informed by the Commission to stop sending such unsolicited telemarketing messages.

Chairman of the Commission Mr Leong Keng Thai said: "It is a frustrating experience for individuals who have registered their numbers with the DNC Registry to continue receiving unsolicited telemarketing messages, and the PDPC will take enforcement action against those who continue to ignore the rules."

Recently on August 27, Star Zest Home Tuition and its director Law Han Wei became the first offenders to be charged and fined since the rules kicked in on Jan 2.

Both Star Zest and its director faced a total of 26 counts of contravening section 43(1) of the PDPA with 48 other similar offences taken into consideration. They were fined $39,000 each, for a total fine of $78,000.

Two other organisations accepted offers to compound their offences relating to the sending of telemarketing messages to Singapore telephone numbers registered with the DNC Registry in lieu of prosecution.

The composition amounts ranged from $500 to $1,000.

The Commission said it has also received a small number of isolated complaints against 900 other organisations and has issued them with notices that warn of the consequences of sending any further unsolicited telemarketing messages.

The Commission added that the real estate sector currently makes up about 47 per cent of complaints pertaining to DNC related offences.

As organisations become more familiar with the DNC Registry, the number of complaints pertaining to DNC related offences received by the Commission on a monthly basis has also fallen by as much as five-fold, the Commission said.

The Commission has investigated more than 3,500 valid complaints against various organisations since the DNC provisions took effect, while investigations into some 1,700 other complaints are currently ongoing. These organisations are from sectors such as property, private education and retail.

To date, about 4,500 organisations have registered to check Singapore telephone numbers against the DNC Registry.

This is a nine-fold increase from the 500 organisations that first registered with the DNC Registry when it came into effect. An average of 38 million telephone numbers are checked every month.

Individuals who wish to lodge a complaint to the Commission or organisations which would like to find out more about compliance with the PDPA can visit www.pdpc.gov.sg or write to info@pdpc.gov.sg.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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