Tuesday, 12 May 2020 13:11

ACMA clampdown halves illegal solar telemarketing complaints Featured


Complaints about unwanted telemarketing calls from solar companies have halved since 2018, following a clampdown by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to reduce illegal telemarketing calls from the solar sector.

The ACMA said on Tuesday that there were just under 1,700 complaints between July 2019 and March 2020—down from more than 3,400 in the same period between 2018 and 2019.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the results are encouraging.

“We have been working with industry to educate them on telemarketing rules, as well as targeting the industry with investigations and, where appropriate, enforcement actions,” O’Loughlin said.

“After directly contacting the solar telemarketers who we have received complaints about, and reminding them of their obligations, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of complaints received about those telemarketers.

“This gives the providers an opportunity to review and correct their processes, which is a win-win, for the company and the consumers.”

O’Loughlin said that over the last year, the ACMA has taken a range of actions following investigations into alleged breaches of telemarketing laws, including:

  • Issuing infringement notices of $4,200 to solar telemarketers Suntech Solar Pty Ltd (trading as Ausuntech Energy) and Grand Group Pty Ltd for making calls to consumers who had tried to opt out of sales calls.
  • Giving formal warnings to three solar telemarketers, Ausgreen International Pty Ltd, Data One Communications Pty Ltd (trading as Pioneer Solar) and Wise Business Group (trading as Eco Wise Energy) who could not demonstrate they had consent to make calls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register.
  • Accepting an enforceable undertaking from one solar telemarketer, Data One Communications Pty Ltd about its future telemarketing conduct.

The ACMA recognised the harmful impact of unwanted solar telemarketing when it made solar telemarking a compliance priority. The fall in calls is improving consumers’ lives,” O’Loughlin said.

Under Australian telemarketing laws, consumers can opt to add their number to the Do Not Call Register to avoid telemarketing calls. Businesses are not permitted to call numbers on the Do Not Call Register without consent, regardless of where they have sourced the number.

Penalties for businesses in breach of Australia’s telemarketing rules include formal warnings, infringement notices or action in the Federal Court.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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