Telemarketing Code (CTM) 2020
The Telemarketing Code applies to telephone calls between telemarketers and consumers, in which consumers having a Dutch telephone number are contacted.
Article 1 Definitions
In this code the following is understood to mean:
Telemarketing: the methodical and systematic use of telephone calls to unsolicitedly recommend goods, services or concepts to consumers; this is also understood to mean a request for services. However, this does not include the use of telephone calls to participate in research for historical, statistical or scientific purposes, as cited in Article 89 GDPR;
Telemarketing Call: the call in which telemarketing is practiced;
Telemarketer: the person that carries out the telemarketing;
Telemarketing Firm: the organizations (including self-employed persons) engaged (inter alia) in telemarketing, also called faciliatory contact center organizations;
Advertiser: the organization which orders to carry out telemarketing. This does not, by any means, refer to the telemarketing firm;
Intermediary: the organization which at its own risk and account, and in the role of Controller within the meaning of Article 4 GDPR, canvasses customers and sells these contracts to one or more advertisers that target consumers;
Consumer: a natural person. In this code this is also understood to mean: a natural person acting in the exercise of a profession or business, such as a self-employed person (ZZP’er), a general partnership (VOF), a partnership firm (maatschap) or a sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak);
Specific Call-back Appointment: an appointment with a specific topic, date and time indication made by the telemarketer with the consumer, if the telemarketing call is at an inconvenient time;
Requested Call: a call with a commercial, charitable or idealistic intent which is unambiguously and expressly requested by the consumer;
Customer Term: In this code customer term is understood to mean the period after expiry of an effective services agreement, donorship or after the last purchase of a product, within which telemarketing calls are allowed;
Do-not-call Register: a register in which consumers can record their contact details if they do not want to receive unsolicited telemarketing communications, save from organizations the consumer is a customer of;
Right to Oppose: the right of a consumer, laid down in the Dutch Telecommunication Act, to oppose directly towards the advertiser or intermediary, to any further use of the consumers’ contact details for telemarketing by the advertiser or intermediary;
Deduplication: comparing the file used for telemarketing with the Do-not-call Register and the suppression list (right to oppose list) of the advertiser or intermediary himself;
Interactive Voice Response (IVR): the system that can be used to actively point out to consumers in each telemarketing call the right to oppose and the Do-not-call Register and which facilitates immediate entry in the Do-not-call Register.
Article 2 Requirements Telemarketing
Telemarketing calls by advertisers or intermediaries are allowed if the consumer is not registered in the Do-not-call Register.
Telemarketing calls by advertisers are allowed if the consumer is a customer/donor who has not exercised his right to oppose towards the advertiser, and to the extent that the contact details:
– have been obtained by the advertiser within the context of sale of a product or service or within the context of a donation to an idealistic or charitable organization; and;
– the advertiser uses these contact details for telemarketing in respect of his own similar products, services or donations to the idealistic or charitable organization.
Article 3 Customer Term
A maximum customer term of 3 years applies to each telemarketing call within the meaning of Article 2(2) which takes place after expiry of a current services agreement, donorship or after the last purchase of a product.
The advertiser can apply for an exception to the maximum term of 3 years with the Customer Term Commission by filing a substantiated requestin which the advertiser balances the interests of the impact on consumers against the interests of his organization. The membership, authority and procedures of the Customer Term Commission have been laid down in an additionalregulation. The same pertains to the criteria that a substantiated request must meet.
There is a purchase of a product and/or service if an obligation for a financial transaction has arisen.
A template of a balance test is made available by DDMA (see www.ddma.nl). This balance test is a tool to define how long an organizationmay use the contact details of former customers for telemarketing.
Article 4 Convenience Question
a. After clarifying the commercial, idealistic or charitable purpose of the telephone call, the telemarketer must ask whether the telemarketing call is at a convenient time.
b. Upon the start of each telemarketing call the telemarketer should reveal the advertiser.
c. If an intermediary calls, the tradename of the intermediary should be stated at the beginning of the telemarketing call. An intermediary shall never suggest that
– he represents multiple advertisers, whereas in reality he represents only one advertiser;
– an overall picture of the market is provided, whereas in reality only a selection of advertisers is represented;
– he is an independent organization, if he actually works under commission.
The name of the advertiser or intermediary must be a trade name that is registered in the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce.
If the telemarketing call is inconvenient, then the telemarketer shall end the call.
Before ending the telemarketing call that is at an inconvenient time, the telemarketer is allowed to ask whether the call would be convenient at another time. In the event that the consumer does not make a specific call-back appointment, Article 12 applies in full to a new attempt to contact the consumer for a telemarketing call.
It is allowed to ask whether the call would be convenient at another time. Preferably, the telemarketer makes a specific call-back appointment, whereat the telemarketing firm shall endeavor to comply with this appointment. If no specific call-back appointment is made, then the telemarketer must point out to the consumer his right to oppose. If the consumer has not yet been entered into the Do-not-call Register, he shall be granted the opportunity to enter the Do-not-call Register.
Article 5 Transparency
It is mandatory to communicate at the end of the call, or in the IVR, the tradename of the advertiser or intermediary.
Advertisers shall ensure that their telemarketing firms, and any other third parties contracted by them (directly or not), such as intermediaries, also work in conformity with this code and in general comply with the applicable laws and self-regulation regarding consumer sales. Advertisers, intermediaries and telemarketing firms shall preserve written evidence of due application of the transparency measures.
Written evidence of the due application of the transparency measures shall be duly preserved.
Each telemarketing call shall be made with an operational and visible telephone number, on which the advertiser or intermediary can be called back for free or at normal telephone costs. Said telephone number must be reachable, with a live operator, or shall at least comprise a recorded message that explains how the consumer may oppose telemarketing.
By means of said telephone number, the advertiser or intermediary shall communicate, through the operator or the recorded message: the tradename registered with the Chamber of Commerce, and an operational URL informing where the organization can be found, which is easy to hear and to remember. The tradename should be retrievable from the Chamber of Commerce.
Calling with an operational and visible telephone number implies that calling with an anonymous number is never allowed. The advertiser or intermediary is allowed to hire a telemarketing firm to guarantee the reachability with live operators, as long as such telemarketing firm directly answers that line with the name of the advertiser or intermediary in question.
If the telemarketer expects, considering the offer, that the telemarketing call will take longer than 5 minutes, the telemarketer shall specify the expected time of the call at the beginning of the call.
Article 6 Ending
If the consumer expresses his wish to end the telemarketing call prematurely, then the telemarketer shall immediately comply. The telemarketer shall always comply with Article 12, unless the consumer prematurely ends the call himself.
Article 7 Voicemail System
The telemarketer is not allowed to
– leave messages on a voicemail system or other peripheral equipment of consumers, or;
– forward the IVR (see Article 13) to a voicemail system.
Article 8 Automatic Calling Systems
The use of automatic calling systems without human intervention to transmit recorded messages of a commercial, idealistic or charitable nature by means of telemarketing is not allowed.
Article 9 Planning
Telemarketing calls shall exclusively take place between 09.00 AM to 10.00 PM on business days and between 10.00 AM to 04.00 PM on Saturdays. Outside these hours, on Sundays and on Official Holidays telemarketing is not allowed.
On 5 December, 24 December and 4 May, after 06.30 PM, telemarketing calls are not allowed.
Telemarketing firms are allowed to derogate from paragraph 1 and 2 of this article if it concerns a specific call-back appointment.
Article 10 Unfair and Misleading Contacting
Unfair and misleading contacting is not allowed. Articles 7 and 8 Dutch Advertising Code are fully applicable.
Article 11 Minors
It is not allowed to make offers to consumers the telemarketer knows, could know or should know to be 16 years or younger.
Article 12 Right to oppose and Do-not-call Register
In each telemarketing call the consumer should be notified of his right to oppose and in each telemarketing call he shall be given the opportunity to enter the Do-not-call Register, unless the consumer has already been included in the Do-not-call Register.
The right to oppose and the opportunity of entry in the Do-not-call Register is not mandatory, if a specific call-back appointment is planned in the telemarketing call, in which these rights are still pointed out to the consumer.
The opposition must have been processed no later than four weeks after filing. Advertisers and telemarketing firms ensure that prior to calling they can deduplicate the telephone numbers from the Do-not-call Register.
Article 13 lnteractive Voice Response (IVR)
If an IVR is used to comply with Article 12 and Article 5(1), the telemarketer shall announce clearly and unambiguously in the telemarketing call that the consumer can unsubscribe to telemarketing through the IVR.
Use of the IVR to offer the right to oppose and, if consumers are not registered yet, the Do-not-call Register, is allowed in a telemarketing call, provided the IVR is announced unambiguously by the telemarketer. It must be clear to the consumer that he can unsubscribe to telemarketing through the IVR. This is possible for instance by using the example sentence below:
“Sir/madam, if you hold for just a moment, you can make sure we will not call you anymore.”
If an IVR is used, the following is offered to the consumer:
1. the tradename of the advertiser or intermediary registered with the Chamber of Commerce, and an operational URL through which the advertiser or intermediary can be found, and;
2. the right to oppose being contacted for telemarketing by the advertiser or intermediary on whose behalf the call took place, and;
3. entry in the Do-not-call Register, unless the consumer has already been entered in the Do-not-call Register.
If during the telemarketing call the consumer indicates he no longer wishes to be called by the advertiser or intermediary (right to oppose), the IVR may not be played and the telemarketer shall process the requests manually. If the consumer wishes to use the possibility to enter into the Do-not-call Register, the telemarketer shall process the request manually, unless the consumer is already included in the Do-not-call Register, in the occurrence the telemarketer shall note this and offer the right to oppose.
If the right to oppose is filed against an intermediary, this does not mean that the advertisers/brands offered are not allowed to call you anymore. When registering the opposition, the intermediary explains that the opposition will be processed within his own organization, but that the consumer can still be called directly by the advertisers he offered and that if he does not want this, he may file an opposition with them, for instance through the website.
Article 14 Requested Calls
A requested call by the advertiser or intermediary is allowed. In case of a requested call to a consumer by the advertiser or intermediary, Article 4, 5, 9 and 15 of this code apply in full.
Article 15 Specification of Request
In case of a requested call, the advertiser or intermediary shall inform the consumer, if he asks for this, when and how the consumer requested the advertiser or intermediary for the telemarketing call.
Article 16 Complaint Handling
Anyone who believes to have been contacted by telephone in violation of this code, may file a complaint in writing or by email, with the advertiser or intermediary in question. The advertiser or intermediary is obliged to investigate the complaint and to inform the complainant as soon as possible, within four weeks at the latest, about the outcome of such investigation. It is assumed that both the advertiser and the telemarketing firm are parties to the procedure as cited in the second paragraph of this article.
Anyone who has not been informed within four weeks or who finds the handling of his complaint unsatisfactory, may file a complaint with the Stichting Reclame Code, in conformity with its bylaws and regulations.
Article 17 Effective Date
This code enters into force on 1 March 2020. A transition term of 3 months applies to Article 3. The CTM will be evaluated and adjusted periodically, if necessary.
The Consumentenbond (Dutch Consumer Association) does not approve this code. The Consumentenbond alleges that it does not adequately meet the wishes of its members regarding telemarketing.
A special advertising code which is adopted by the board of Stichting Reclame Code (SRC) without being adhered to by the Consumentenbond or the full Kolom Consument & Maatschappij, has equal effect as the other special advertising codes.