Starting today, October 10th, the law protecting citizens from commercial calls outside of business hours comes into effect in Colombia. This is Law 2300 of July 10, 2023, new legislation that prohibits banks, entities, and other service companies from making communications to sell products or demand payments outside of established hours.
From now on companies will only be allowed to communicate through a single medium, a maximum of 2 times per week, and only from Monday to Saturday. Therefore, calls on Sundays, holidays, or outside of business hours, which means from 7 am to 7 pm on weekdays and from 8 am to 3 pm on Saturdays, are prohibited.
Protecting Consumer Privacy
The law was approved by the Colombian Congress in July but has only come into effect now. The objective of this regulation is to “protect consumers’ right to privacy.”
It has been established that the Financial Superintendency and the Industry and Commerce Superintendency will ensure compliance with the legislation.These public supervisory and regulatory entities, dependent on the state, monitor the proper functioning of economic activities and public services.
The norm does not apply in cases of information requested by the consumer or when there is suspicion of a fraudulent transaction. Similarly, if the purpose of the communication is debt collection, contact through authorized means such as receiving messages, emails, or calls cannot be canceled as long as the debt is still outstanding.
Likewise, home visits for collections are prohibited, and it is also illegal to approach the consumer at their workplace. In this case, to ensure compliance, the consumer must ensure they have an updated and registered a communication channel with the entity or company they are associated with.
The Preferred Communication Channel: The Telephone
“Once direct contact with the consumer is established, they cannot be contacted through multiple channels within the same week or more than once in the same day. Ideally the response channel should be the telephone so that the customer’s response can be recorded,” explained Diana Silva, a financial expert and collections manager at Ban100, for La República newspaper.
The financial expert also stated that, although the reasons for non-payment are reserved, it is preferable for the consumer to “express the circumstances that led to the situation, such as unemployment, reduced income, calamity, among others. Depending on these circumstances, entities will offer different alternatives, all with the aim of providing effective solutions.”
Mobile Phone Companies
This regulation also affects mobile phone companies, which often make numerous calls to citizens to sell their products. Many times, these are random communications without even knowing the details of the owner of the line they are calling.
These aggressive sales techniques have caused much inconvenience and repeated complaints from a large number of users over a long period. This is reported by the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce, which receives hundreds of thousands of complaints about commercial calls from various mobile phone operators.
The law was presented by the proponents Juan Carlos Wills, from the Conservative Party, and Alfredo Deluque Zuleta, representative of the U Party. Both politicians have expressed their satisfaction with the coming into force of the regulation they have promoted.
“A great piece of news for all Colombians! Our initiative has just been sanctioned by the President of the Republic. This law will prohibit and regulate financial and commercial entities from bothering Colombians during non-business hours,” Wills stated.
Similarly, the representative from the U Party explained that “this project is an initiative that seeks to have clear rules for those who have debts with the financial system or any type of entity, while respecting their integrity and personal dignity, and regulating the hours and form of contact that should be used.”