How to stop telemarketing calls in Australia

How to STOP telemarketing calls to your home and mobile in Australia

How to stop telemarketing calls

It may seem ironic that the leading call centre industry resource in Australia is telling you how to stop telemarketing calls.

Sadly, for most people though, they associate call centre workers purely with making those annoying telemarketing calls you receive at home.

However, there are hundreds of thousands of people who work in call centres (or contact centres as they are now called) in everything from helping you with technical support, helping save lives in emergency services, supporting those in times of trouble with services like lifeline or beyond blue and of course taking phone orders, helping resolve issues etc for thousands of companies across the country.

In fact, there are lots of great things about working in the contact centre industry so if nothing else, we hope we’ve opened your eyes just a little bit to some of the diverse and important roles contact centre workers do in the community.

Anyway, back to telemarking calls.

A recent study by Choice revealed something that most of us already know – we don’t like getting unsolicited phone calls.

The key findings from the study revealed that:

  • 93% of Australians find telemarketing calls annoying.
  • 89% of Australians are receiving unsolicited calls.

No shit.

So the evidence is clear.

Most people hate them so let’s look at how you can stop telemarketing calls once and for all.

This is how you can stop telemarketing calls

Thankfully, in Australia, we have the Do Not Call Register (DNCR) which is governed by the Australian Communication and Media Authority or ACMA for short.

The ACMA service is your best chance to stop telemarketing calls being made to your number.

The DCNR enables Australian consumers to opt-out of receiving telemarketing calls and over 11.7 million Australians telephone, mobile and fax numbers are registered for the service.

Want to add your number to the Do Not Call Register?

Visit the ACMA website and fill out the online form and within 30 days your phone should stop ringing from telemarketing companies.

Importantly though, it doesn’t mean you still won’t get more phone calls (read below). 

Call centre operators must constantly check their calling records and remove anyone who has registered on the DCNR from their dialling lists within 30 days which within the call centre industry, is called washing your list.

Whilst it’s free for Australian consumers to register, call centres conducting outbound calls must pay to ‘wash’ their lists against those who have registered for the DCNR or face big fines when they don’t comply.

Best Excuses to give a Telemarketer

If you do still happen to receive calls, there was an episode of Family Feud where they asked the best excuses used to get rid of a telemarketer.

So it would be rude of us not to share that, wouldn’t it?

In order of the most popular excuses used:

  1. Having dinner
  2. I’m busy
  3. Working
  4. Don’t speak English
  5. Not interested
  6. Hang up
  7. Someone at the door
  8. On the loo

Why you will still get calls (even if you register on the DCNR)

Even if you did register on the DCNR, you may still receive telemarketing calls.


Here’s the kicker… Charities, Market Research and Political organisations are exempt from the Do Not Call Register as they are not considered to be ‘Telemarketing’.

The important distinction made by ACMA is that telemarketing relates to businesses trying to sell you something.

Everything else appears to be fair game.

I’m not sure about you, but I find the constant calls about wanting me to participate in a survey, and never-ending calls from charities just as annoying as the telemarketing ones.

At this stage, however, legally there is absolutely nothing you can do about these types of calls.

What about those annoying overseas call centres?

There is a common perception that overseas call centres are exempt from having to adhere to the Do Not Call Register but according to ACMA, that’s simply not true.

If an overseas telemarketer is found in breach of the legislation, ACMA will pursue the Australian company linked to that telemarketer or fax marketer.

[Read our article: Why Australian call centre jobs are going offshore]

What other rules apply to Telemarketers?

The Telecommunications (Telemarketing and Research Calls) Industry Standard 2017 states that any company making Telemarketing calls must use Calling Line Identification (CLI) displaying the number they are calling from.

If you call that number back you must be able to receive the following information:

For telemarketing calls (other than research calls):

  • the name of the employer of the person who made the call
  • the purpose of the call
  • who caused the call to be made.

For research calls:

  • the name of the employer of the person who made the call.
  • the purpose of the call.

When can telemarketing companies call me?

Telemarketing companies are given strict guidelines as to when they can, and can’t, call customers. If you do receive a call outside of these hours, make a complaint on the Do Not Call Register website >

Type of Call  Weekdays Saturday   Sunday National public holidays
Telemarketing calls 9:00am – 8:00pm 9:00am – 5:00pm No calls allowed No calls allowed
Research calls 9:00am – 8:30pm 9:00am – 5:00pm 9:00am – 5:00pm No calls allowed

How to stop the calls from charities

The Choice study revealed that “After receiving an unsolicited fundraising call from a charity, 66 per cent of consumers say they are less likely to donate to that charity in the future.”

In 2016, the UK introduced a controversial new service, known as the Fundraising Preference Service that enables Britons to opt-out of phone calls, emails, text messages and addressed post specifically from charities.

Charities that don’t adhere to the new guidelines can face fines of up to $25,000 pounds (approx $42,000 AUD).

The Choice study revealed that Australian’s also want the charity telemarketing calls to stop – 74 per cent of Australians believed charities shouldn’t be allowed to call numbers on the Do Not Call Register.

Coming from the contact centre industry though, telemarketing still employees thousands of Australian’s and if done correctly, is still a viable service for many businesses.

Charities, in particular, would be hit hard if revenue gained from telemarketing was suddenly cut off and it’s tough enough for charities as it is.

The local contact centre industry has already been under siege for a few years with many Australian call centre jobs heading overseas so the last thing I’d personally want to see is any more locals lose their jobs.

So for now, there is basically nothing you can do to stop telemarking calls other than contact the charity directly and kindly ask them to remove you from their lists.

There does seem to be some acceptance that “Continued requests for donations to people who are not willing to give is not in any charity’s interest” according to Rob Edwards, chief executive of Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) lending further weight that this approach might help.

It’s a nice way of saying it’s a waste of time continuing to contact people who don’t or won’t donate.

So how can we stop getting ALL calls?

With ACMA (The Australian Government Communication and Media Authority) seemingly unwilling to tighten up the standards at the current time, should the industry step up to the plate first and impose some tighter self-regulation?

In a nutshell yes it should.

However… Just who is the ‘industry’?

Telemarketing, like contact centres, cuts across a range of industry verticals and professional associations.

ADMA, Auscontact Association, CSIA and the FIA just to name a few could all claim to represent the telemarketing industry so that in itself poses some problems.

So either ACMA takes the lead or consumers will start fighting back in their own way.

From personal experience, many of my friends and family have resorted to cancelling their home phone number and with it, ‘stopping’ the annoying phone calls.

But it won’t be long before all that traffic starts flowing to mobile numbers, SMS, your emails etc. so even that approach is potentially only offering a temporary respite.

Unfortunately, SMS and the robot calls are not yet covered on the DCNR.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

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About Justin Tippett 74 Articles

Justin is one of the leading authorities on Contact Centres and Customer Experience in Australia and is the founder of CX Central and the recently launched Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association (ACXPA)

There's also a vicious rumour he's the person responsible for all the memes on the Call Centre Legends page now followed by over 20k people ;)

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