Telstra fined for Do Not Call Register Breaches

19 08 2009

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) yesterday announced that Australia’s largest Telco Telstra breached the Do Not Call Register Act (“Act”) and was fined $101,200.

The ACMA claims that one of Telstra’s external call centres in Australia made telemarketing calls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register (the Register). The ACMA began investigations in August 2008 following a raft of consumer complaints about calls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register. According to the ACMA:

The investigation found that inadequate compliance systems, procedures and supervision had contributed to calls being made to numbers on the Register where the consumers were not existing Telstra customers.

In addition to the fine, Telstra was forced to enter into enforceable undertakings with the ACMA, which included the appointment of external consultants to review Telstra’s compliance procedures.

In clarifying its expectations, the ACMA said that it:

expects large businesses like Telstra to be leading the way and setting an example when it comes to compliance with the Do Not Call Register – not falling behind.

This is at odds with its earlier treatment of the Westpac Bank who only received a warning for breaches earlier this year – Westpac Bank breaches Act.

In commenting on the ACMA’s action, Cooper Mills Director and IT & T Lawyer Erhan Karabardak said that:

It is positive to see that the ACMA is taking enforcement of the Act seriously, but the inconsistency in penalties may be something for the ACMA to consider in future. Although each case needs to be assessed on its own facts, any perceived inconsistencies in treatment may undermine the efforts of the ACMA.

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