Law & Policy

Hong Kong Marketers Warned About Frustrating Telephone Tactic

Hong Kong's Office of the Telecommunications Authority says telemarketers that deliver pre-recorded telemarketing telephone messages using a "missed call" tactic can be subject to the regulations under the new Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance which started on December 22, 2007.

"Reports have been received that some telemarketers deliberately leave missed calls by hanging up within one or two rings. When the called parties call back the numbers left on their phones, the telemarketers will then automatically play pre-recorded telemarketing telephone messages. This kind of tactic can be subject to the regulation of the UEMO and whether a breach of the provisions of the UEMO has been committed would depend on the facts of the case," an OFTA spokesperson said in a press statement. "Pre-recorded telephone messages must comply with the rules for sending commercial electronic messages stipulated under the UEMO. For example, the sender information and an "unsubscribe" facility should be provided for in the pre-recorded message. Furthermore, telemarketers should ensure that they do not make calls to numbers which have been registered onto the Do-not-call Register for pre-recorded telephone message."

Consumers who have registered their telephone or fax numbers onto the Do-not-call Register but are still receiving unsolicited commercial fax, SMS or pre-recorded messages may issue reports to OFTA by calling 852-29616333. OFTA says it has issued 15 warning letters to commercial electronic message senders. Marketers are liable on a first conviction to a fine up to HK$100,000, and on a second or subsequent conviction to a fine up to HK$500,000.

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