Don't complain if they Do Not Call
AT 10AM on Monday morning, I entered my mobile number into the Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry.
By doing so, I am effectively telling businesses and marketers to never call me, as I have opted out of all of their marketing messages.
This means no more calls asking me if I want to sign up for credit-card promotions, personal loans, cheap spa packages, personal or travel insurance, and no more SMS or WhatsApp messages on new condominium projects.
The only way I can continue receiving these notifications is if I give each individual business consent to reach out to me, but why would anyone want that?
Anyway, here's the thing. More than just putting an end to pointless marketing cold calls, consumers should also be aware of what they are potentially missing out on with the DNC Registry.
While I have yet to meet anyone who likes receiving marketing calls, there are some helpful calls that can fall under this category of marketing.
For example, I do not always keep track of my mobile, cable-TV or broadband subscription and I appreciate it when customer-service representatives call me and ask me if I want to sign a new contract to enjoy the discounts and freebies available.
The same goes for dental appointments, as I am not one to always schedule the next appointment six months down the road, and I like to be reminded by the clinic to make an appointment.
I also like to be reminded of special deals during my birthday month, or if there is a members-only sale.
For those who prefer personal services from specific doctors, dentists, hairstylists and others, getting a call from these practitioners informing you that they have changed practices or set up their own businesses might be all right, but all it takes is for someone else to complain that these calls constitute blatant marketing and the situation can get trickier.
If there are complaints, these businesses might then decide to err on the side of caution, and not offer these handy call-ups any more.
I can correct this by offering my consent but I am also wary of giving businesses blanket approval to contact me, because I know I am not keen on their other offerings.
Unfortunately, the DNC Registry cannot be personalised to such a level and it is an all-or-nothing approach when granting consent.
And for consumers who sign up with the DNC Registry because they are fine with not receiving notifications, they should be aware that any consent given supersedes a sign-up with the DNC Registry.
So what constitutes consent?
A check box in that membership or contest form that you ticked, offering you twice the rewards for your consent, definitely counts.
I expect that companies will get more creative in the ways they hope to gain your consent to be contacted. And if you choose to accept the conditions and the reward, thinking that you can withdraw the consent later, know that the company can just as easily withdraw any future freebie as well.
In other words, the DNC Registry is helpful but, as a consumer, you should know what you are signing up - or, in this case, not giving consent - for.