Optus to improve Do Not Call compliance | ACMA

Optus to improve Do Not Call compliance

ACMA media release 82/2011 – 25 August 

Optus is overhauling its telemarketing practices consistent with an enforceable undertaking recently accepted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

An ACMA investigation found Optus had inadequate telemarketing compliance systems, resulting in thousands of complaints about Optus telemarketers calling people with numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register. Many of these complaints came from Optus customers who had expressly opted out of receiving Optus marketing contact.

'While businesses are able to make telemarketing calls to their customers in some circumstances, they clearly need to respect any request by their customers that these calls stop,' said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

Under the court enforceable undertaking, Optus has agreed that for two years it will:

  • Keep comprehensive records of telemarketing calls that it makes or that are made by call centres on its behalf
  • Audit these records on a monthly basis, and report back to the ACMA (so as to give the ACMA early visibility to any problems)
  • Implement robust procedures to record customers who have opted out of receiving further telemarketing calls

The ACMA's use of enforceable undertakings to achieve better compliance with the telemarketing requirements has proved effective over the past few years. After Telstra gave a similar undertaking in 2009, and worked assiduously to resolve the problems, the ACMA noted an 89 per cent fall in complaints about the telemarketing activities of Telstra.

Members of the public can opt out of receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls and marketing faxes by calling 1300 792 958 or by visiting www.donotcall.gov.au. Complaints about telemarketing calls and marketing faxes can be made the same way. A person can also request a business with which he or she has an existing relationship to stop making telemarketing calls or sending marketing faxes in future.

The Enforceable Undertaking is available on the ACMA website.

Background

On 16 August 2011, the ACMA concluded its investigation into Singtel Optus Pty Ltd's (Optus) compliance with the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (DNCR Act).

The ACMA had received thousands of complaints about Optus telemarketing calls from consumers who have registered their number on the Do Not Call Register. The ACMA advised Optus on several occasions of these complaints and told Optus that it should review its telemarketing practices. After the ACMA continued to receive complaints about Optus it commenced an investigation into Optus' DNCR Act compliance.

The majority of the complaints related to calls about Optus mobile phone packages, made both by Optus and its call centres, and a large proportion of the complaints were from Optus consumers who had continued to receive telemarketing calls from Optus after indicating that they wished to opt out of receiving further telemarketing calls from Optus. The DNCR Act allows businesses to make telemarketing calls to its customers (including those who have registered their number on the Do Not Call Register). Businesses must stop making telemarketing calls to customers who elect to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls if those customers have registered their number on the Do Not Call Register.

The investigation found a number of general compliance issues:

  • Inadequate record keeping
  • Inadequate oversight of Optus' call centres
  • Failure to appropriately record and action opt out requests for Optus consumers

The ACMA accepted an enforceable undertaking from Optus that targets these compliance issues.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

# # #

The ACMA is Australia's regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications. The ACMA's strategic intent is to make communications and media work in Australia's public interest. For more information: www.acma.gov.au.


Last updated: 15 April 2016