The ACMA targets solar telemarketing practices | ACMA

Telemarketing

03 July, 2015 02:35 PM

Telemarketing

The ACMA targets solar telemarketing practices

By Administrator

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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?