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OPTA to consider telemarketing complaints through ConsuWijzer

The Commission of OPTA, the Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority, will consider consumer complaints about telemarketing through ConsuWijzer. The latter is an information office jointly run by OPTA, the Netherlands Competition Authority and the Consumer Authority, to which consumers can turn for practical tips and advice about their rights. OPTA will enforce the rules governing telemarketing more strictly, based on complaints received through the ConsuWijzer website.

Telemarketing refers to the use of the telephone by businesses, charities or other organisations to approach individuals to sell or ask them for something, for example, a donation or membership. Many of these calls do not comply with the relevant legal requirements or do not do so entirely. For this reason OPTA will be taking action. An opt-out regime applies in the case of telemarketing, which is a form of direct marketing. This is to say that, although organisations may make unsolicited calls to consumers, during a call the person called must always be given the opportunity not to be called by the relevant organisation any longer. The calling organisation is required to register and respect this unconditionally, in full and without the person called incurring any expenses.

When announcing this approach earlier this year, OPTA’s Chairman, Chris Fonteijn, already indicated his desire to tackle telemarketing excesses. As he put it: We need complaints from consumers in order to assess the extent of their annoyance. Thanks to the recent establishment of ConsuWijzer, which will officially be commencing operations at the beginning of this month, OPTA will be able to accept complaints from consumers about telemarketing directly, Conversely, consumers will also know whom they can approach with any complaint.

As part of this approach OPTA will be focusing on the most pressing offences. OPTA has the power to impose fines not exceeding €450,000.00.