UAE telemarketing regulations
The Ministry of Economy will oversee the implementation of these resolutions in coordination with the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, the Central Bank of the UAE, the Securities and Commodities Authority, local licensing authorities, and relevant entities. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Tired of unwanted sales calls? New regulations have been implemented to curb intrusive telemarketing practices and empower consumers to control unwanted calls.

The Ministry of Economy and the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) announced these changes on Sunday, June 9. They will take effect from mid-August 2024.

The regulations aim to create a more respectful telemarketing environment, prioritising consumer privacy and reducing disruptions from unwanted calls.

How will it reduce unwanted calls?

Reduced call frequency – Calls are only allowed between 9am and 6pm.
No pushy sales tactics – Companies must avoid pressuring or misleading you.
No repeated calls – If you reject a product or service, the company cannot call you again about it.
No more same-day call backs – Telemarketers cannot call you again if you have declined the call or ended the phone call.
Limited follow-ups - Companies can only call you a maximum of twice a week if you don't answer the call.

Is this only limited to phone calls?

This includes marketing text messages and marketing messages through social media applications.

Professional and ethical telemarketing

As per the new resolution, companies must now:

• Have prior approval – Companies must obtain permission from the relevant authority before engaging in telemarketing.
• Have employee training – Companies must train their employees on proper telemarketing conduct and ethics
• Use registered phone numbers – Telemarketing calls can only be made from local phone numbers registered under the company's commercial licence.

No personal number for telemarketing calls:

The new regulations strictly prohibit individuals from conducting telemarketing calls through landline or mobile numbers registered under their names at telecommunications companies in the UAE.

Be aware of call recordings:

Companies may record marketing calls, but they must notify you at the beginning of the call. They should also identify themselves and the purpose of the call.

Will my mobile number be protected under the new rules?

Your personal data cannot be disclosed or sold to third parties without your consent. The resolution prohibits disclosing the consumer’s personal data without their consent or selling it for reprocessing purposes by companies wishing to market their products or services to the consumer through marketing phone calls.

Is it possible to block all telemarketing calls in the UAE?

One of the provisions in the new resolution is that telemarketers must refrain from calling consumers whose numbers are listed in the Do Not Call Registry (DNCR).

The DNCR was introduced in September 2022 and it allows etisalat by e&, du and Virgin mobile customers to register their number in this system to prevent unsolicited telemarketing, spam, or malicious calls.

How to register for DNCR:
• Du and etisalat by e& - Text DNCR to 1012
• Virgin Mobile - Use the Virgin Mobile app

For a detailed breakdown on how to register for DNCR, click here.

Can I file a complaint if a telemarketing company is violating the rules?

According to a social media post by TDRA, you can report annoying marketing calls by sending an SMS to 1012 with the text ‘Report’ followed by the mobile number - ‘Report 050xxxxxx’

What if a company violates the rules?

The regulations outline many violations with hefty fines for non-compliance, including:

• Up to Dh150,000 fine for contacting numbers on the DNCR list.
• Dh75,000 fine for making calls from unregistered numbers.
• Dh25,000 to Dh75,000 fine for misleading or deceptive marketing tactics.

Penalties for individuals:

Dh5,000 fine and service disconnection for the first offence of using a personal number for telemarketing. Increased fines of up to Dh50,000 for repeat offences, and it can also lead to a ban on obtaining any services from licenced telecommunications companies in the country.