News : Telemarketing Ban to be Lifted
Feb 4, 2014 -- The government will lift a ban on telemarketing activities for financial products this month, officials said.
The measure came amid criticism that the telemarketing ban, which was instituted last week as part of measures to prevent possible scams using stolen consumer data, is threatening the jobs of tens of hundreds of telemarketers.
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) initially planned to keep the ban in effect until the end of March, but decided to lift it early because it is creating "unintended side-effects," FSC officials said.
Later in the day, President Park Geun-hye told the regulator to pay more attention to the plight of telemarketers.
"We need to examine whether the telemarketing ban was unnecessarily excessive," Park said during a Cabinet meeting. "It is regrettable that telemarketers are suffering due to this measure. There should not be innocent victims in implementing anti-scam measures."
Park instructed the Cabinet to come up with measures to protect telemarketers from being disadvantaged, presidential aides said.
A day earlier, a group representing about 120,000 telemarketers working in the country said it would hold a protest rally in front of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) in Seoul on Thursday. It claimed telemarketers have nothing to do with the recent data leaks, but are being victimized.
Many telemarketers have been told by their firms to go on leave until the temporary ban is lifted. There are also reports that some firms are planning to cut the quota for telemarketers.
The FSC implemented the telemarketing ban as part of measures to prevent consumer data recently stolen from card firms and banks from being misused by scammers. Critics say the telemarketing ban was an example of the government’s poor response to the data leaks.
After the ban took effect last week, some foreign insurance firms operating in Korea criticized the government, claiming the measure may violate Korea’s free trade agreements.
In a protest letter to the FSC, AIA Life urged the regulator to lift the ban immediately, saying it will affect its business in Korea seriously, according to FSC officials.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Financial Services Commission (South Korea):
The Financial Services Commission (FSC), formerly Financial Supervisory Commission, is South Korean government's top financial regulator. It makes financial policies, and directs the Financial Supervisory Service.
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014