Telecommunications industry leads Do Not Call Register complaints

19 01 2009

Telecommunications companies have been the biggest offenders for contacting people on the Do Not Call Register, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The Do Not Call Register was introduced on 31 May 2007 to allow individuals to stop receiving a wide range of unsolicited telemarketing calls. ACMA is responsible for overseeing the register’s operation and for investigating breaches of the Do Not Call Register Act.

In the first year of the register’s operation, telecommunications companies were responsible for 55 per cent of complaints received by ACMA. The complaints have resulted from unwanted calls promoting phone plans and other related services.

The ACMA have signalled a new approach, with ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman stating “Businesses have had ample time to adjust to the new laws and by now should have robust compliance measures in place,”.

We think that this new approach will result in more investigations and potential prosecutions, fines or enforceable undertakings. It is even more reason for business to increase vigilance when planning marketing campaigns in particular.

There are services available to allow call lists to be ‘washed’ against the Do Not Call Register to assist with statutory compliance.

Key facts

*During 2007–08, there were 28,804 complaints received.

*Of these, 23,336 involved potential breaches of the Do Not Call Register Act.

*Over the past 12 months, ACMA has issued four infringement notices to telecommunications companies. This includes a penalty of close to $150,000 issued to Dodo Australia.

*ACMA has accepted enforceable undertakings from Dodo, as well as Astron Communications and People Telecom. Formal warnings have also been issued to Global Telelinks, Ezycall and m8 Telecom.

*ACMA estimates that 5 per cent of the businesses involved in complaints are responsible for approximately 70 per cent of the total complaints received. ACMA’s formal investigations are focusing on these businesses.

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