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Friday, 16 January 2009 02:22

Telcos are the worst for breaching do-not-call rules

The ACMA says that telecommunications companies are responsible for 55 percent of complaints from people who have listed their phone numbers on the do-not-call register in order to avoid unsolicited telemarketing calls.

"This is a matter of obvious concern," said Chris Chapman, ACMA chairman. "It is unacceptable to see that some telcos are not respecting that decision. Businesses have had ample time to adjust to the new laws and by now should have robust compliance measures in place."

The ACMA says it has completed a round of formal investigations focusing on telcos as a result of which it has issued four infringement notices, including a $147,400 penalty imposed on Dodo Australia in October 2008. It has accepted enforceable undertakings from Dodo Australia, Astron Communications and People Telecom. Formal warnings were also issued to Global Telelinks, Ezycall and m8 Telecom.

The ACMA says it has embarked on a campaign to improve telecommunications compliance that includes formal investigations, warnings, detailed letters putting individual providers 'on notice,' and an industry newsletter specific to the telco industry which provides practical advice about adhering to compliance requirements.

Chapman said that, despite this campaign complex reselling arrangements and the use of offshore call centres had contributed to the level of non-compliance in the telecommunications industry. "Where reselling arrangements exist, we are looking for companies at the top end of the marketing chain to take a lead role in insisting on high standards of compliance amongst the businesses that depend on them."

A recent survey by the Australia Institute found that two-thirds of Australians want to see telemarketing banned completely. The Institute estimated that time wasted cost $1.6b per year. In the first year since its launch, in May 2007, two million Australians added their numbers to the register.

A present only personal fixed and mobile phone numbers can be registered, but the Government announced in August 2008 that it was looking at expanding the scope of the register to cover any phone number and fax numbers.

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