Do Not Call Register Penalty handed out

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) continues a crackdown on companies breaching the Do Not Call Register Act, with a financial services company – Premium Financial Services – hit with a $34,000 infringement notice after telemarketing calls were made in breach of the Act.

Premium Finance Services received the infringement notice after the ACMA found that the company had engaged a call centre to make telemarketing calls on its behalf, and calls were made to numbers on the Do Not Call Register.

ACMA’s acting Chairman, Richard Bean warned that organisations which fail to meet their obligations under the Do Not Call Register Act risk significant penalties.

“Some businesses may think having a contract with a call centre and relying on them to do the right thing is enough. It’s not. If you use a call centre for telemarketing, you must make sure that the centre is complying with the Do Not Call Register Act.”

The Do Not Call Register is established under the Do Not Call Register Act and under the Act, Australians can enter their fixed line or mobile telephone numbers on the register, provided those numbers are used primarily for private or domestic purposes. Any number used exclusively as a fax number can also be registered.But, it is illegal for most unsolicited telemarketing calls or marketing faxes to be made to numbers on the register, while businesses have 30 days from the date a number is registered to check their call lists and stop contacting that number.

Some unsolicited calls, however – subject to telemarketing industry rules that limit the hours calls can be made – are permissible, including:

•    Marketing calls from businesses with which the recipient has an established ongoing relationship, unless consent has been withdrawn

•    Calls from political parties, members of parliament, and political candidates, soliciting donations or offering goods and services

•    Calls from educational institutions in which the recipient is, or was, a student, offering goods or services

•    Calls from registered charities, soliciting donations or offering goods or services

•    Opinion polling and research calls.

The Do Not Call Register Act applies to those who engage others to make calls for them as well as those who actually make the calls, and members of the public can opt out of receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls and faxes by visiting ACMA’s Do Not Call registration page on its website or calling 1300 792 958.  Registration is free and even if you have an existing relationship with an organisation, you’re entitled to ask the organisation to stop calling.

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