After Twitterati scream foul about pesky calls, RBI says 'will look into it'

After Twitterati scream foul about pesky calls, RBI says 'will look into it'
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  • Sanjiv Bajaj, the chairman of Bajaj Finserv has said that his company will come out with a ‘right to be forgotten’ feature for users who want to opt out of its marketing calls.
  • RBI deputy governor when asked said on Thursday that the telecom regulator is the right authority to deal with the issue.
  • Bajaj’s plan to offer a parallel do-not-disturb (DND) feature has angered the Twitterati.
A day after Sanjiv Bajaj, the chairman of Bajaj Finserv stirred the hornet’s nest by promising that his company will bring down marketing calls with a ‘new feature’ in three months, India’s banking regulator RBI said that the telecom regulator is the right authority to address the issue, when posed a question at a press conference but added that it will look into it as the question has been raised.

Bajaj said that his company would bring either a feature on its website or an app wherein people who do not want to receive calls can register. The feature is to be called ‘right to be forgotten’.

"You will see, in three months' time, on our website and our web app will be an option – you click it – we will never bother you again. You'll have the right to be forgotten by us but then make sure you don't come back to us for our products and solutions," Bajaj said on Wednesday with reference to a question on cross-selling of financial products to existing customers.

When the RBI was asked to comment on customer service standards, the central bank said there were rules which apply to telemarketers and recovery agents. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has a Do Not Call registry where customers can register their numbers if they do not wish to be disturbed. However, it does not make the distinction between receiving calls for transactions and calls by telemarketers.

“On the calls as far as recovery agents are concerned we have already issued our guidelines and put out a code as to what they have to follow. As a marketing tool, it’s the decision of the individual bank and the TRAI has to look into as there is a do not call registry. Now that you have brought it up, we will look into it,” M K Jain, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told at a press conference following monetary policy committee decisions.

TRAI is the telecom regulator which has set up a Do Not Call registry wherein users can opt out of marketing calls. However, it’s without teeth since most agencies break the registry rules, spamming consumers with unwanted calls and offers. A survey by Localcircles claims that two in three people get at least three pesky calls per day.

Opt out? When did we opt in?, ask Twitterati

Amongst the sea of real estate project updates and credit card offers that come via calls, Bajaj Finance’s calls have stood out in volume and persistence. Its aggressive marketing tactics have amused, angered and irritated Twitterati — which is rife with memes and updates from its agents offering loans.

Bajaj’s recent move to run a parallel DND has annoyed the Twitterati, even more. “Can’t believe Sanjiv Bajaj of Bajaj Finance said you can opt out of our telemarketing calls, but don’t come back to us for loans. As if the loans they are selling are part of Charitable Services. It’s their business and they are making money out of it,” said @joydas, a Twitter user.

“What is opt out? When did we opt in? Does Bajaj Finance only call people who need a loan. Are there no other loan providers?” said Debashis Basu of Moneylifers.

The Twitterati was also sarcastic of Bajaj’s ‘magnanimous concession’ to those bothered by calls. “Bajaj Finance is primarily a spamming company and only secondarily a finance company. Ask anyone and they will tell you about it,” said another Twitter user.

A lot of companies’ customer service or the lack of it has been a hot topic across social media. Be it endless harassment via calls, selling wrong products to customers and irate lack of redressal — are now being taken up by regulators and companies alike, as it’s becoming tough to ignore.