22 August 2007
ACMA launches first Do Not Call Register investigation
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has instigated its first formal investigation under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006, which established the Do Not Call Register for Australian consumers. ACMA will investigate Lifestyle Dynamics following numerous complaints from people listed on the Register about continuing to receive calls from the company.
The Do Not Call Scheme commenced on 31 May 2007 and has since attracted more than 1.6 million registrations. Since that time, ACMA has worked with industry to build compliance with the new scheme. As part of this approach, ACMA initially wrote to 259 businesses that had been the subject of complaints, warning them of their new obligations and advising them of the penalty provisions for non-compliance.
Eighty-eight per cent of the businesses targeted ceased to be the subject of consumer complaints within four weeks of being contacted by ACMA. The graph below underlines the success of this approach. In the second wave of ACMA reviews, a further 161 companies have since been contacted.
‘It is pleasing that the overwhelming majority of companies when contacted by ACMA and made aware of the requirements of the Do Not Call Register Act, have stopped making unsolicited telemarketing calls,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. ‘However, continuing anti-compliance will be acted upon, and the Act carries significant penalties for those offenders. ACMA is continuing to monitor telemarketers that are the subject of complaints and will take more formal action where it is warranted.’
Lifestyle Dynamics has continued to be the subject of a large number of consumer complaints (over 90) despite repeated written warnings to the company from ACMA. The investigation is likely to be complex and may take some time. ACMA will not be making further comment until the investigation is completed.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980.
The Do Not Call Register is an Australian Government initiative that provides Australians with the opportunity to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls, by placing their telephone numbers on the Register. In general, apart from some limited exemptions, it is against the law for unsolicited telemarketing calls to be made to a registered number unless there is consent to call.
While the focus of ACMA’s compliance approach is on systemic breaches, ACMA retains the discretion to decide to act more urgently on a case-by-case basis. The graph below demonstrates the effectiveness of the approach to date.
ACMA has a range of enforcement options for ensuring compliance. These include issuing formal warnings, seeking enforceable undertakings, issuing infringement notices imposing a pecuniary penalty and taking court action seeking the imposition of substantial fines, in excess of $1m. The action taken in any particular case will depend on the number and severity of breaches found as a result of an investigation.