Since its inception, the main objective of the Italian Public opt-out registry has been to combat the scourge of aggressive telemarketing, protecting consumers on one hand, and regulating a fragmented industry with multiple players on the other.
On one side, we have consumers who often provide their data for marketing purposes, often without paying attention to privacy disclosures, after browsing the internet or encountering a commercial promotion. On the other side, there are marketing agencies and call centers that make telephone sales their business model.
According to a recent study by Ambrosetti on all the structures within the Business Process Outsourcer association, it is important to highlight that approximately 200,000 people are currently employed in the sector, mostly in the South, with permanent positions. However, this is an underestimated figure that does not take into account structures outside the association.
Has the introduction of the The Public opt-out registry solved the issues of aggressive telemarketing?
Based on the results so far, a solution to the problem has not yet been identified. Furthermore, there has been a journalistic and political narrative suggesting that the project was a way to block any unwanted calls. This is clearly impossible if, on one hand, consumers do not register with the opt-out register, and on the other hand, if call centers do not block calls to those registered numbers. To circumvent the issue, call centers based abroad are increasingly used to bypass the national block, which, it should be noted, only applies to operator-assisted calls and not to messaging.
The regulations also require operators to check the Public opt-out registry every 15 days before calling users.
What are the details of the Public opt-out registry?
For consumers, the service is free. They can simply visit the website's citizen section and fill in the required fields, leaving their data.
However, the requirements for industry operators are different. To encourage the participation of various operators, the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) had initially revised the old tariff structure. For example, if previously the verification of 1 million records cost €19,550.00, with the new tariff structure introduced alongside the register, the verification of 1 million records has been reduced to €870.00, at a cost of €0.00087 per name. As you can see, there has been a significant reduction in costs for operators to encourage lawful behavior.
The problems arise in July 2023 with the new cost restructuring and the corresponding increase in costs. On one hand, the cost model has been transformed into a subscription model or possible recharge model based on just 4 user database tiers, following unclear logic until the end of 2023:
- 5,000 users
- 35,000 users
- 1,500,000 users
- 3,000,000 users
Today, if you subscribe for 1.5 million names until the end of 2023, the cost has now become €10,416.65 at a unit cost of €0.0069, which is 9 times higher than the previous cost. If you subscribe for 5,000 users and then want to increase by 1.5 million names, the cost becomes €54,000.00 at a unit cost of €0.036, which is 41 times higher than the previous cost. These values are much higher than before and act as a deterrent for all industry operators who want to operate in compliance with the law.
In view of the critical issues mentioned, the operators and trade associations involved recently received a communication from the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy requesting observations or comments regarding the current tariff system. The objective declared by the Ministry is to receive any comments on the access tariffs in force, in order to take into consideration any critical issues in view of the preparation of the tariff plan for next year. It only remains to be seen whether, once the problems that have arisen have been taken into consideration, there will be real developments and changes in view of 2024.
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