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Bill to protect phone users scales second reading

14 February 2013, 09:02

 Abuja -  A bill to protect telephone consumers from the activities of telephone marketers has passed second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The bill is also aimed at providing adequate sanctions against the business of telemarketing in Nigeria.

The telemarketers delivered prepared sales lectures, describing products and services in order to persuade potential customers to purchase a product or service or to make a donation.

Their job description also entailed the contacting of businesses or private individuals by telephone in order to solicit sales for goods or services, or to request donations for charitable causes.

They explained products, services and prices, and answer questions from customers, obtain customer information such as name, address and payment method as well as enter orders into computers.

Other job description includes, recording of names, addresses, purchases, and reactions of prospects contacted.

The telemarketers also obtained names and telephone numbers of potential customers from sources such as telephone directories, magazine reply cards and lists purchases from other organisations among other functions.

Leading the debate on Tuesday on the merits of the bill, Rep. Abiodun Balogun (ACN-Ogun), said that the proposed legislation was aimed at controlling the activities of telemarketers.

Balogun urged members to support the bill to curtail what he described as the inappropriate calls and text messages from telemarketers.

Lending his voice in support of the bill, Rep. Buba Jibril (PDP-Kogi), said that the legislation was necessary to check ``such embarrassing calls.’’

In his contribution, Rep. Sekonte Davis (PDP-Rivers), called for adequate sanctions, adding that such unsuitable calls and messages from telemarketers were an invasion of people’s privacy.

However, in spite of a few dissenting voices, the bill scaled second reading, and the Speaker, Rep. Aminu Tambuwal referred it to the Committee on Communication for more legislative action.



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