One week before the launch of the national Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry, the authorities threw businesses a lifeline to exempt them from having to check the registry before they market to their customers.
The new exemption order, which will kick in on Jan 2 along with the DNC registry, allows organisations to send text or fax messages of market related products and services to customers and members without having to check against the registry.
For instance, a bank or credit card company will be able to send its existing credit card holders telemarketing messages about related services, such as a rewards programme for credit card holders. The exemption order does not apply to voice calls. So organisations are still required to check against the DNC Registry before making telemarketing calls to promote related products and services.
The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) announced this in a statement on Thursday based on feedback from organisations that their customers still expect marketing messages to be sent by SMS or fax - even though customers have listed on the DNC registry or have not given prior consent to receiving such messages.
"The exemption order provides greater flexibility for organisations to serve their customers in a minimally intrusive manner," said Mr Leong Keng Thai, Chairman of the PDPC.
But these organisations are required to provide information on how consumers can opt out of such messages, and allow consumers to opt out using the same medium by which the message is received.
The PDPC also published more guidelines on the DNC Registry, including information about the exemption order on www.pdpc.gov.sg/resources/advisory-guidelines.