Telstra Nobbled Over Do Not Disturb Calls

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In an effort to drum up mobile phone business a Telstra call centre started calling people on a “Do not disturb’ list” a move that was in breach of new Federal Government regulations concerning direct response marketing.

Telstra has paid $101,200 after the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that one of its external call centres in Australia made telemarketing calls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register (the Register).

Telstra has also entered into a wide-ranging enforceable undertaking with the ACMA, which includes the appointment of an external consultant to review Telstra’s systems and procedures for compliance with the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (the Act).

The ACMA commenced an investigation into Telstra’s compliance with the Act in August 2008 after continuing to receive consumer complaints despite having advised Telstra of potential compliance problems. The investigation found that inadequate compliance systems, procedures and supervision had contributed to calls being made to numbers on the Register where the consumers were not existing Telstra customers.

‘The ACMA expects large businesses like Telstra to be leading the way and setting an example when it comes to compliance with the Do Not Call Register – not falling behind,’ said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA. ‘The market leaders in the telco industry should consider themselves soundly on notice – size and complexity are no excuse for non-compliant practice.

‘Telstra has paid the infringement notice, acknowledged that there is work to do, and is now setting about fixing these issues. The ACMA appreciates Telstra’s cooperation during the investigation, and the substantial commitment demonstrated in its enforceable undertaking to improve its telemarketing practices.’

Mr Chapman reminded Australians that if they receive an unsolicited telemarketing call more than 30 days after entering their number on the Register, they should take down as much information as they can about the call if they wish to make a complaint. The ACMA relies on consumer complaints to identify businesses that may be making prohibited calls to numbers on the Register.

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