UAE Cracks Down on Telemarketing: New Regulations Begin August 2024

In a significant move to regulate the often intrusive practice of telemarketing, the UAE’s Ministry of Economy and the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) have unveiled new resolutions set to take effect in mid-August 2024. These regulations target all licensed companies, including those in free zones, involved in marketing products and services via phone calls.

The new rules mandate that companies must seek prior approval from the relevant authorities before engaging in telemarketing activities. This oversight will be managed by the Ministry of Economy, in collaboration with entities such as the Central Bank of the UAE, the Securities and Commodities Authority, and local licensing authorities.

Under these resolutions, individuals are barred from initiating marketing calls using phone numbers registered under their names. Companies, on the other hand, must adhere to strict guidelines to ensure they do not disturb consumers unduly. Marketing calls are limited to the hours between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM, with restrictions on call frequency to prevent harassment.

Telemarketing firms are also required to use local phone numbers and must provide comprehensive training for their staff on the ethics of marketing. They are forbidden from using deceptive or high-pressure tactics, and must record all marketing calls, notifying consumers of this at the start of each call.

The resolutions impose heavy penalties for violations. Companies failing to obtain necessary approvals or engaging in deceptive practices face fines ranging from AED 75,000 to AED 150,000. Individuals making unauthorized marketing calls can be fined up to AED 50,000 and face disconnection of their phone services.

Consumers also gain new protections. They can lodge complaints against unwanted calls, and companies must provide information on how they obtained consumers’ contact details. Moreover, consumers can register their numbers in the Do Not Call Registry to avoid unsolicited marketing calls.

This regulatory overhaul aims to balance the interests of businesses and consumers, ensuring telemarketing practices are conducted with transparency and respect for privacy.

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