Bottom end ISP Dodo Australia has been slapped with a massive $147,400 fine by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for deliberately disturbing people with irritating telephone calls.
The unsolicited calls made in an effort to get people to sign up to their ADSL Broadband service were traditionally made while most people were having dinner the Authority was told. And despite warnings to cease the irritating practise of making unsolicited calls, the Company persisted by engaging the services of an overseas-based telemarketing Company.
The $147,400 penalty for disturbing people’s peace is one of the largest ever handed out following the roll out last year of a Do Not Call Register that allows Australians to legally stop telemarketers making those irritating calls.
ACMA spokesman Donald Robertson said Dodo Australia had deliberately tried to bypass the new law by using an overseas call centre. It found Dodo Australia had made 67 unsolicited calls to homes on the register and was fined $2200 for each call. “If you are in business and hire offshore call centres to make telemarketing calls, you need to be extremely diligent in overseeing what they do. Ultimately the calls they make are your responsibility,” Mr Chapman said.
Mr Chapman noted that while Dodo has paid a financial penalty in this case, the penalties could have been much higher if the matter had proceeded to court. “Dodo has cooperated with ACMA’s investigation, paid the specified penalty, and taken some very positive steps to amend its procedures. It has avoided costly court action, and responded proactively to the issue.”
It has also been reported that complaints about telephone and Internet services to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) have rocketed in the past 12 months, the TIO’s office has reported.
TIO Deidre O’Donnell’s annual report reveals the office received 149,742 complaints in the year to June 30, up almost 50 per cent on the 2006-07 financial year. It was the biggest rise in complaints in 10 years.
Mobile phone services were the No 1 source of complaints in the latest year: 47,300 this year compared with 33,670 last year. Another 13,899 complaints were received about mobile premium services.
Internet service complaints increased by 32.3 per cent to 63, 741. Major issues concerned ISP customer service (14,039); billing and payments (13,724) and faults (11,076). Some 92 percent of complaints were resolved within a day.