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Banning annoying marketing tactics (but not really)

Banning annoying marketing tactics (but not really)

Advertising unlicensed financial services is going to be banned at DIFC. But will it have the same loophole as the telemarketing ban, asks Precious de Leon.

April 18, 2011 3:47 by

This morning Kipp got a call from the friendly neighbourhood telco operator. Sadly, it wasn’t one of those ‘hello, how are we doing with our service?’ kind of calls. The call was about a new service offer, something along the lines of paying twice as much to be able to talk on the phone for an excessive amount of time ‘for free’ and that if I wasn’t interested, then maybe I’d like to hear about offer no. 2…

“Isn’t this information available on your website already?’’ we ask, cutting her off.

The lady at the other end says “yes” without any effort to disguise the tone of defeat in her voice.

This was definitely not the first time she’s been asked that question. She knows when she’s being shot down. And the call ends there.

So have telecos replaced bank telemarketing calls now that the latter is banned? Here’s a better question: Is telemarketing in the region ever going to be strictly regulated as a whole?

Kipp got to searching for any proof that telemarketing really is more regulated now. And instead of vindication, we found a loophole: Did you know that banks can still call you to promote offers and new products if you’re already an existing customer? The regulation apparently was only on ‘cold calling’ but not for phone calls that “[maintain] banking relationships”.

Ah, there’s the rub.

Joe Tawfik, head of Silah, Bahrain’s biggest outsourcing and call centre, told The National that banks in the UAE must create codes of conduct to regulate these supposedly already banned phone calls. He warned that not doing so would be like “poisoning” the well for the entire industry. Might be too late for that, Joe.

On the whole, though, Kipp hears there has been more stirring in disruptive marketing as a whole.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has closed a loophole that allowed the advertising of unlicensed services.

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1 Comment

  1. MK on April 19, 2011 11:45 am

    This happened to me just 10min ago…from one of our favorite banks…HSBC!
    Annoying when you are already a custome and you keep getting the calls!!!


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