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Telemarketing

03 July, 2015
02:35 PM

Telemarketing

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The ACMA targets solar telemarketing practices

By Editor

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The ACMA is concerned about the telemarketing practices being used by solar businesses.

In the last 12 months, we’ve received thousands of complaints from Australians on the Do Not Call Register about calls from solar businesses and call centres offering solar panels and related services and products.

In fact, 20 per cent of all complaints now made to the Do Not Call Register are about solar telemarketing. This indicates a high level of non-compliance by businesses using telemarketing—whether directly or indirectly—to sell their solar products and services.

If you’re a solar business that uses telemarketing, you should review your telemarketing activities to ensure you or other businesses you use to conduct telemarketing on your behalf are not calling people on the Do Not Call Register.

All telemarketing activities must comply with the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and the Telemarketing and Research Calls Industry Standard.

Telemarketing activities can include calls that:

  • offer appointments to inspect a property or provide quotes
  • ask consumers whether they have solar, or are interested in solar products, services, incentives or subsidies, with the aim of promoting a prospective provider.

How are solar businesses breaking the law?

Complaints indicate that many solar businesses are using call centres that are not checking the numbers they are calling against the Do Not Call Register. Remember, you’re responsible for the calls a call centre makes on your behalf—if they make a call to a number on the register, YOU could be investigated and penalised for that call. 

Many call centres also engage in solar ‘lead generation’ practices, where they make calls to Australians seeking interest in solar products. If a person seems interested in the product, they will then sell this ‘lead’ to (sometimes multiple) solar installers or retailers. A very large number of these lead generators do not check the numbers they are calling against the Do Not Call Register. The result is thousands and thousands of calls to people on the register—known as ‘dirty’ leads. If you buy a dirty lead and end up calling a number on the register, YOU could be investigated and penalised for that call. 

Many solar telemarketers are also failing to comply with industry standard requirements to display Calling Line Identification (CLI) and provide mandatory information—who they are, who they work for, why they’re calling and on whose behalf they’re calling. Contraventions of the Industry Standard can attract the same sort of penalties as breaching the Act.

But even if you’re just doing your own telemarketing using a phone directory for your area, you still need to check that the numbers you plan to call are not on the Do Not Call Register. 

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Just one call to a registered number could result in a penalty of $3,400, and the maximum penalty is $170,000 for each day on which contraventions occurred. With more than 10 million Australian phone numbers now on the Do Not Call Register, do you want to take that risk? 

Where can I get more information?

Add your comments
  • Peggy Brettle

    15/06/2016 5:50:29 PM

    I have been receiving calls from Happy Energy telemarketers and another company almost daily and sometimes two and three times a day for quite some time. I have asked for my phone number to be removed from their call list to no avail and have made a complaint to the Do Not Call register who say they can't do anything. Could you please pass on any information to me which might stop these harassing calls.
    Reply
  • Andrew R

    17/07/2016 6:43:11 AM

    My number is listed in the Do Not Call Register. I am receiving calls from overseas callers asking if I am aware I can get the $4000 Government solar panel rebate. I have shown interest and subsequently have received follow up calls from Australian companies: Integra Solar and Cool & Cosy Solar. Are these companies flouting Australia laws or is it my fault for talking to the appointment setters from overseas?
    Reply
  • Frances New

    26/07/2016 7:44:02 PM

    I am glad you are aware of solar telemarketers ring people on the do not call register. As this has been happening now for several years I find the do not call register to be another government waste of time & money. I have been getting 2 or three calls a day recently and when I ask who they work for they get huffy and hang up. we need a body that takes this more seriously. When you have critically ill people at home needing not to be disturbed or needing your attention the inconvenience these people cause is severely annoying. I will not buy solar just on principle of the caller doing the wrong thing by me. This will probably be as useful as the register but what the heck.
    Reply
    • In reply to Frances New

      Peter

      3/08/2016 10:25:27 AM

      When they ring, ask them if they like to wear women's clothes, or ask them what they are wearing now. Bingo, no more calls.
      
      Reply
  • Jim McFee

    10/10/2016 7:43:16 PM

    After multiple calls from Integra?(He wouldn't spell it out and had a very poor command of english) solar and three times they have promised to remove my number from their list after I make them aware I am on a do not call list(One just now) I know they will keep calling- please do something about these people. 
    Reply
    • In reply to Jim McFee

      The ACMA

      11/10/2016 3:21:55 PM

      Hi Jim, while the Do Not Call Register won’t stop scam calls, genuine telemarketers, even if they are from overseas, must comply with the Do Not Call Register rules if they are calling Australian numbers. If you lodge a complaint to us at www.donotcall.gov.au we will look into the calls to see if there is a potential breach of the Do Not Call Rules.
      Reply
      • In reply to The ACMA

        Scott

        1/03/2017 9:04:34 AM

        After making numerous complaints to the DNCR about solar companies it appears that after years of this going on that not one company has been fined.
        I take the time to get all the details of the Australian solar companies behind these calls and provide it to the DNCR. As you state above, after thousands of complaints why is it that you have not fined even one solar company. The calls just keep happening. It appears that the DNCR is a waste of taxpayer's money.
        As a last resort I am starting a campaign to get the media involved in investigating why the DNCR fails to act on these companies.
        Reply
        • In reply to Scott

          Peter

          18/04/2017 1:34:44 PM

          ACMA does nothing so we all keep getting these calls. 
          
          Technology is such that these calls are traceable and the offenders readily identifiable. Fact is, nothing is being done. Threats of huge fines are not a deterrent if nobody is fined. Simple.
          
          DCNR is useless - only stops calls from those who respect the law.
          Reply
  • Nick

    26/04/2017 11:44:09 AM

    When I said I paid for a silent line and was on the do not call register I was abused by the caller and told they have a right to randomly call people. Do they pay for this right like I do? They also have no caller id so you cannot delete their persistant nuisance calls or ring them to speak to someone. Who has rights?? 
    Reply
    • In reply to Nick

      The ACMA

      28/04/2017 8:50:49 AM

      Hi Nick, The Do Not Call Register does not block calls to your number, nor does having a silent number prevent you from receiving calls. Instead, it places obligations on telemarketers to check before calling, to ensure they don’t call numbers on the register. If your number is on the Do Not Call Register and you are receiving telemarketing calls, we would like to hear from you, as we rely on complaints about unsolicited telemarketing calls and faxes to identify businesses that may be acting in breach of Do Not Call rules. To make a complaint, you can contact us via phone on 1300 792 958 or visit the DNCR website for more information www.donotcall.gov.au/consumers/consumer-overview/making-a-complaint
      Reply
      • In reply to The ACMA

        nick

        28/04/2017 1:16:48 PM

        Hi
        As previously stated the problem is a caller randomly ringing with no caller id cannot be blocked or reported
        Reply
        • In reply to nick

          The ACMA

          1/05/2017 9:46:41 AM

          Hi Nick, 
          You can still make a complaint to the Do Not Call Register, even if you can’t identify the number that called you. The minimum information required is the date and time of the call you received. However, the more detailed information you can provide, such as what the call was about, the better. Even where we are not able to pursue direct action in relation to a specific complaint, all such information from consumers is useful and helps us determine where we should be directing our compliance and enforcement activities (including education campaigns targeted at industry).
          You can contact us via phone on 1300 792 958 or make a complaint online at www.donotcall.gov.au/consumers/consumer-overview/making-a-complaint
          Reply
          • In reply to The ACMA

            Robbo

            21/05/2017 12:44:46 AM

            Interesting, I see this thread was started nearly a year ago and the problems are as large as ever. The major problem with telemarketers are they are based overseas, I have disabled my overseas calling function, but still get them, Have complained numerous times to my service provider and they seem powerless to prevent them. For pretty much all of the reasons outlined previously, I'm sick of them - that's just the telemarketers, haven't even started on the scammers or the charities that call, the DCNR doesn't cover charity organisations., so it's open slather. With all the current babble about tech innovation, I cannot believe that no one has come up with a solution for households to block theses unsolicited calls!
            Reply
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