From July 1, an amendment to the Electronic Communications Act will come into force, including a ban on unsolicited calls or so-called telemarketing. Now, it will automatically be assumed that the consumer is bothered by telemarketing calls, is not interested in them, and cannot be contacted by “telemarketers” unless they give prior express consent.
Until last year, the law worked the other way around, meaning that companies could call with offers and approach anyone if the person concerned did not have explicit consent stored in the operator’s register.
Although the new regulation, which provides for a reversed system, came into force in terms of legislation on January 1, the amendment provides a six-month transition period to give companies time to adapt to the new rules. People can still register unsolicited calls on their mobile phones for a few more days.
If they receive a telemarketing call, they should be careful what they say. “Consumers should be cautious and save the words ‘yes, I agree’ or ‘I accept’ in calls to strangers. This applies quite. Generally, it is still possible to validly conclude a contract with a consumer over the phone,” Eduarda Hekšová, director of consumer organization dTest, said.
However, the amendment to the law ends the use of the common practice of “telemarketers” in the form of announcements that they call a randomly generated number. “After July 1, 2022, this excuse will no longer be possible. The law has made it clear that randomly generated phone numbers are considered to be the creation of a subscriber list. In contrast, marketing calls to numbers from such a subscriber list will require the subscriber’s prior consent,” Hekšová said.
Someone can still call
But offering products via phone calls will not completely disappear even after July 1. In fact, within the limits of the law, companies will still be able to call their existing customers. This could be, for example, an operator, a bank, an energy supplier, a doctor, a craftsman, or just a friend offering additional or new services.
“It will still be possible to call a friend or customer, client, patient, etc., after July 1, 2022, as long as the legal reason for such calls is other than a marketing offer to a subscriber on the subscriber list,” Hekshova clarified.
The Czech Telecommunications Office is in charge of supervising compliance with the new law. It can impose a fine of up to CZK 50 million “or up to 10 percent of the net turnover of the offender achieved in the last completed accounting period – whichever is higher”, Hekšová added.