Tuition agency first firm here to be charged for flouting personal data protection rules

The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) is charging Star Zest Home Tuition for sending messages to numbers on the Do Not Call (DNC) registry despite being told to stop. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE 
The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) is charging Star Zest Home Tuition for sending messages to numbers on the Do Not Call (DNC) registry despite being told to stop. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE 

SINGAPORE - A tuition agency has become the first company here to be charged for violating the "Do Not Call" rules.

The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) is charging Star Zest Home Tuition for sending messages to numbers on the Do Not Call (DNC) registry despite being told to stop. Both the tuition agency and its director will be charged in the courts on June 4 for contravening the DNC rules in the Personal Data Protection Act. This prohibits companies from marketing to any number listed on the registry without first getting consent. The firm was marketing the teaching services of its tutors.

PDPC chairman Leong Keng Thai said: "The Commission is serious about compliance with the DNC requirements in the Personal Data Protection Act. We thank the members of public who have cooperated with us in our investigations and are encouraged by individuals who have stepped forward to do so."

Two other unnamed companies were also fined between $500 and $1,000. The Commission has also warned 380 other firms for flouting the DNC rules, effective since Jan 2 this year.

The registry was set up to let consumers block unsolicited marketing calls, SMS messages or faxes by listing their numbers. In most cases, companies are now not allowed to market to any registered number without getting consent. More than 600,000 phone numbers are listed on the Registry.

But even after the registry's launch on Jan 2 this year, around 630 organisations were still texting and calling numbers listed on it without getting permission. This led to at least 3,700 complaints from the public.

The complaints were made mainly against private education and property companies, some were also against those in banking and finance, retail, insurance as well as telecommunications.