Industry Research : Making Unwelcome Telemarketing Calls Can Cost Big $$$
Aug 29, 2013 -- On 14 August the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that it had secured an enforceable undertaking from telco Teleus Pty Ltd and holiday promoter Flexi Marketing Solutions Pty Ltd for making calls to numbers on the Do-Not-Call-Register.
Teleus got off lightly. Other transgressors of the Do-Not-Call regime have been hit with significant financial penalties. The highest of these was imposed in August 2009 on Telstra after ACMA found "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."
However, in proportion to the size of the company, the fine imposed on small telecommunications service provider, Telko Pty Ltd, in September 2011, was much larger. The ACMA received 91 complaints about Telko in three months and, in what should be a warning to any company engaged in telemarketing, said that Telko had failed to effectively supervise the call centre engaged to make the calls. "Even though the calls were made by the call centre, Telko has the ultimate responsibility to monitor compliance," the ACMA said.
"Businesses using an external call centre for telemarketing must make sure that the centre is checking its call lists against the Do-Not-Call Register before any telemarketing calls are made. They should also audit each call centre to ensure that it is only calling numbers that are not listed on the Do-Not-Call Register."
These were not isolated instances. Since the Do-Not Call Register Act came into force in 2007 the ACMA has investigated more than 50 businesses, given 26 formal warnings, accepted 24 enforceable undertakings and issued 13 infringement notices in response to complaints from the public.
For consumers plagued by unwanted telemarking calls the system has been a great success. They simply go to the Do-Not-Call web site and input their fixed or mobile number, or call its 1300 number. There are now over nine million numbers listed, which means there are slim pickings for telemarketers that have not established a prior relationship with customers.
To avoid breaching the rules, telemarketers must ‘wash’ a list of numbers they plan to call against the register. Any numbers that are on the register will be flagged as such. They are not in breach of the rules if they call a number that has been added in the previous 30 days, so they need to perform this washing at least once a month.
Premier Contact Point, the cloud contact centre platform offered by Premier Technologies goes even further to protect outbound callers. It includes as standard a do not call feature that enables an agent on an outbound campaign to mark a number as "do not call". Once marked, the system will block any further calls to the "excluded number" in the future by that calling organisation until the exclusion is removed. This helps protect telemarketers who run multiple campaigns or who run campaigns over lengthy periods. The exclusion lists are also able to be exported and provided to ACMA if necessary.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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