According to a consumer group, over 18 million unsolicited telephone calls are made every month in Switzerland.
The SKS consumer group for German-speaking regionsexternal link has addressed the problem of unsolicited phone calls in a letter sent to a Swiss parliamentary commission, which is discussing the revision of the Swiss telecommunications law. A copy of the letter was recently published in Tamedia newspapers.
SKS believes the main problem is not the lack of rules, but the fact that they are not respected. For example, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has, up to now, been unable to launch legal proceedings against call centres based outside Switzerland. Identifying callers is also difficult, as false numbers are often used.
But if a caller is identified, SECO cannot act directly. It must first request legal assistance from the country concerned, which slows the procedure and makes it expensive. Most cases are therefore closed without any fines handed down.
SKS wants the clients of calls centres making illegal unsolicited calls for them to be prosecuted and it believes Swiss individuals receiving such calls could be used to identify and punish call centres.
Swisscom, the biggest telecoms company in Switzerland, already allows its customers the possibility of blocking unsolicited calls. The proposed revision of the telecommunications law would enable the Federal Council to force all telecom firms in Switzerland to offer such blocking options.