Few people enjoy receiving calls or text messages they didn’t request from businesses, especially if they’ve registered on their country’s Do Not Disturb (DND) list. In India, that list is officially called the National Do Not Call (NDNC) Registry. Individuals who do not wish to receive promotional texts or calls from businesses that they have no relationship with can sign up for free. Then, if a business tries sending someone promotional messages they don’t want, consumers can file complaints that have serious consequences for the businesses that are in violation.
How to sign up for the DND list
The easiest way to get on the DND list is to send an SMS message to 1909, the national number reserved for the purpose. The body of the message should be simply START DND or START 0.
The subscriber’s carrier should instantly acknowledge the request and warn that it may take some time for the registration to become effective. The registry provides a page consumers can visit to check registration status.
If an individual doesn’t get a confirmation text, or simply prefers voice calls to texting, they can also call 1909 and follow the recorded instructions to register.
To remove a number from the registry, send STOP DND to 1909. However, numbers cannot be deactivated for 90 days after activation.
By the way, while most people block all unsolicited commercial communications (UCC), consumers can pick and choose which industries to block. There are seven sectors (see below). Text START n, where n is the digit, associated with the sector, to block promotional messages from each industry.
- Banking, insurance, financial products, and credit cards
- Real estate
- Consumer goods and automobiles
- Communication, broadcasting, entertainment, and IT
- Tourism and leisure
People can change DND preferences at any time, but after someone makes one change, they won’t be able to make another for 30 days.
What to do when DND doesn’t help
The NDNC Registry is a great resource, but it’s not perfect. If a telemarketer illegally ignores the DND list, consumers may receive messages they don’t want. This happens far too frequently — according to LocalCircles, two out of three people whose numbers are in the registry get three or more unwanted calls every day. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has taken many steps to combat these unwanted communications. Most recently, new rules went into effect on May 1 that require telecom companies to use AI spam filters in their call and SMS services.
Still, knowing spam happens, the TRAI set up a way to file spam complaints.
As with registration, the trick is to text or call 1909. Provide all the particulars of the unwanted message:
- Sender ID
- Message content
- Message date and time
Alternatively, recipients can search their carrier’s website for a form on which to make a DND complaint.
Consumers who submit a complaint should receive a unique complaint tracking number. The NDNC Registry should follow up by reporting to filers the action it takes within seven days. Actions may include having the calling number disconnected and forcing the originator to pay financial penalties.
How to avoid DND violations
As a business, it behooves you not to be the source of DND complaints. Several best practices will keep you on the side of the angels.
- Register with the TRAI and obtain a unique sender ID to use in your messages.
- Gain consent from recipients before sending any marketing or promotional messages. Consent can be explicit (given directly by the customer) or inferred (derived from an existing business relationship or transaction); for promotional messages, get explicit consent.
- Check each recipient against the NDNC, and respect people’s preferences.
- Provide an opt-out mechanism, such as an unsubscribe link or instructions to send a “STOP” message, with each promotional message.
- Respect time restrictions — don’t send promotional messages after 9 p.m. or before 9 a.m. Also, don’t send more than six messages per hour with the same content, from the same sender, to the same number.
- Keep records of customer consent, preferences, and opt-out requests, as mandated by the TRAI.
Do all of that and you should be fine. If you run into trouble, the experts on Plivo’s support team stand ready to help.