The Czech Telecommunication Office (ČTÚ) has been cracking down on telemarketers who violate rules against unsolicited calls. Since last July, the ČTÚ has received 1380 complaints about marketing calls. Although the number of complaints has decreased every month since November 2020, the ČTÚ has issued fines totaling almost 5 million Czech korunas to companies that violate the rules. The heaviest penalties were given to companies that offer photovoltaic systems.
According to the ČTÚ spokesperson Tereza Meravá, the office has faced challenges in addressing the issue due to various factors, such as incomplete complaints and anonymous prepaid cards or calls from abroad. Despite these challenges, the ČTÚ has successfully investigated some complaints and punished the violators. The first fine was issued in January 2021, and six months later, the total penalties had risen significantly to 4.92 million Czech korunas.
The two most considerable fines, amounting to 2.2 million Czech korunas, were issued to two cooperating companies for repeated unsolicited calls related to photovoltaic systems. However, since March 1, 2023, the ČTÚ has not received any complaints about calls from the company that initiated the rings, and photovoltaics have ceased to be the dominant topic of unsolicited calls.
In addition to the fines, some operators were fined 195,000 Czech korunas for non-cooperation during inspections (such as not providing information about telephone numbers). The maximum possible penalty that the ČTÚ can impose for violations is 50 million Czech korunas or up to 10% of the net turnover of the offender for the last completed accounting period.
The Czech Republic’s law on electronic communications prohibits unsolicited calls or telemarketing, and it has been in effect since January 1, 2022. However, it did not come into full effect until six months later. During this transitional period, companies had time to adapt to the new rules, which automatically assume that marketing calls are unwanted and that the consumer has no interest in them. Therefore, consent must be given before telemarketers can contact them.
The ČTÚ’s actions reflect the increasing emphasis on protecting personal data and privacy in the Czech Republic and the European Union. The use of unsolicited calls is a significant issue that affects many people and businesses, and the ČTÚ’s efforts to combat it are commendable. Hopefully, the situation will improve, and people can enjoy their privacy without being disturbed by unwanted calls.