Date
16 August 2017
Consumer Council chief executive Gilly Wong (right) backs the findings of a survey on telemarketing. Hong Kong's privacy watchdog is urging a crackdown on the practice. Photo: PCPD
Consumer Council chief executive Gilly Wong (right) backs the findings of a survey on telemarketing. Hong Kong's privacy watchdog is urging a crackdown on the practice. Photo: PCPD

Privacy watchdog urges tighter rules on telemarketing

Hong Kong’s privacy watchdog wants the government to tighten regulations on telemarketing after a survey showed nine in 10 people have received such calls, with almost a quarter getting six or more calls a week.

Privacy Commissioner Allan Chiang said the government should expand the do-not-call (DNC) registers to person-to-person calls.

At present, the registers ward off unsolicited commercial electronic messages including fax messages, short messages and pre-recorded telephone messages but exclude person-to-person (P2P) calls.

The survey showed a growing number of P2P calls, with more people responding negatively to them and fewer people reporting any benefits.

“If someone has received a direct marketing call, they are entitled to request the telemarketer not to use any personal information,” government broadcaster RTHK reported, citing Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So. 

“The government is open to proposals on how to better protect consumer rights,” he said.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data polled 534 residents for the survey conducted in March.

It found the number of respondents who reported receiving P2P calls had increased to 91 percent this year from 84 percent in 2008.

About 23 percent said they received more than six calls per week, up from 8 percent in 2008.

Also, people are running out of patience for such marketing tactics.

About 49 percent of the respondents told the telemarketers that they were not interested at the beginning of the call and 21 percent said they discontinued the conversation immediately compared with 11 percent in 2008.

– Contact us at [email protected]

JZ/JP/RA

Freelance journalist

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe