UAE Implements Strict Telemarketing Regulations with New Penalties and Controls

UAE Implements Strict Telemarketing Regulations with New Penalties and Controls

The Ministry of Economy and the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) have announced a new resolution regulating marketing through phone calls, and another resolution detailing violations and administrative penalties related to telemarketing practices.

The UAE mandates that all licensed companies, including those in free zones, must adhere to regulations when making marketing calls or sending texts via landline or mobile phones, including social media platforms. These regulations cover promoting products and services either directly or on behalf of clients.

The Ministry of Economy will oversee the implementation of these resolutions under the prevailing legislation in the country, 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, each according to its jurisdiction.

The resolutions in the UAE mandate companies to obtain approval for telemarketing, prohibiting individuals from making marketing calls on behalf of themselves or clients. Aimed at economic and social stability, the resolutions ensure adherence to marketing channels and times, reduce unwanted calls, and prioritize consumer comfort and privacy. Companies must exercise transparency and integrity, refraining from pressure tactics or deception, and limit calls to specific hours and frequencies.

The resolutions permit the use of automated dialling systems for marketing products or services, with conditions. These include obtaining approval for phone marketing, training marketers on professional conduct, using authorized local phone numbers, and maintaining a communication channel for interested consumers. Marketers must obtain consumer consent before starting calls and adhere to regulations set by the Minister of Economy. Records of marketing calls must be kept in a prescribed format.

Regulations mandate licensed companies to disclose marketing activities data, refrain from destroying records prematurely, and inform consumers about call recordings. They must report monthly to authorities, adopt a professional conduct code, and comply with specified call times. Callers must identify themselves and disclose data sources. Procedures safeguard consumers from unauthorized marketing calls, except those requested by consumers.

Consumers can lodge complaints about unwanted marketing calls with necessary details and supporting documents. Authorities will establish procedures for receiving and resolving these complaints, with the option to investigate. Resolutions prohibit companies from disclosing or selling consumer data without consent for marketing calls and affirm the right to register on a "Do Not Call" list. Penalties for violations range from warnings to license revocation, escalating for repeat offenses within six months.

The resolutions also stipulate that the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, in coordination with authorised telecommunications companies in the country, may impose one or more of the administrative penalties regarding the violation of a natural person who makes marketing phone calls in violation of the resolution's provisions. It falls within the jurisdiction of the Central Bank to oversee and decide on all matters related to marketing phone calls for banking services and other financial institutions and insurance companies licensed by it and operating in the country, as stipulated in the referenced resolutions and regulations issued by the Central Bank in this regard.

The resolutions specify 18 types of violations and administrative penalties imposed on companies violating the provisions of the issued resolutions

  • Violation: Failure to obtain prior approval for phone marketing
    • First instance: AED 75,000
    • Second instance: AED 100,000
    • Third instance: AED 150,000
  • Marketing to consumers on DNCR list: Up to AED 150,000
  • Deception and misleading marketing:
    • Minimum: AED 25,000
    • Maximum: AED 75,000
  • Marketing with unregistered numbers: Up to AED 75,000
  • Other violations:
    • Minimum: AED 10,000
    • Maximum: AED 150,000

For natural persons (individuals):

  • Making marketing calls without proper authorization:
    • First offense: AED 5,000 + disconnection
    • Second offense within 30 days: AED 20,000 + disconnection for 3 months
    • Third offense within 30 days: AED 50,000 + ban on telecom services for 12 months

News Source: Emirates News Agency

Dark Light