Action on unsolicited communications: April to June 2018 | ACMA

Action on unsolicited communications: April to June 2018

Infringment-notice png$25,200 infringement notice paid by a double glazing business for making telemarketing calls without consent


Formal-warning pngFormal warning issued to a financial services business for sending marketing emails promoting its services without consent


finalised-investigations pngSix investigations into unsolicited communications finalised


business-contact png890 contacts with businesses about compliance


telemarketing-complaints png12,600+ complaints triaged and assessed


The ACMA is responsible for the telemarketing and spam—unsolicited communications—consumer safeguards. This includes providing the Do Not Call Register (DNCR), promoting responsible industry practice and monitoring compliance and enforcement.

Approach

Our activities are graduated depending on the risk of harm and consumer impact. We:

  • provide compliance information to businesses
  • contact businesses to provide an opportunity to rectify compliance issues
  • investigate serious, ongoing and systemic non-compliance
  • take enforcement action where warranted.

We rely on intelligence from a variety of sources, including complaints from members of the public, reports, industry feedback and information from international regulators. We also gather intelligence through ‘shadow-shopping’, where the ACMA acts as a consumer to check compliance with regulations.

We also use intelligence to target particular industry sectors or issues that require priority attention. In 2017–18 our focus was on the solar industry, registered charities and consent-based marketing practices.

Priorities in 2018-19

The ACMA has adopted these priority compliance areas for 2018–19:

  • solar telemarketing (with a focus on lead generation)
  • financial services marketing
  • spam SMS.

The ACMA has also set two education priorities for 2018–19:

  • making informed choices about how to give and withdraw consent
  • raising DNCR awareness among older Australians.

Enforcement

Enforcement action for breaches can include Federal Court-imposed civil penalties, ACMA-issued infringement notices, formal warnings and court-enforceable undertakings. Learn about enforcement powers for spam and telemarketing.

Enforcement outcomes in the quarter

Organisation Outcome Details
Eco Star Double Glazing Pty Ltd The business paid a $25,200 infringement notice for breaches of section 11(1) of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006. The investigation was commenced in relation to consumer complaints. It concerned telemarketing activities in July 2017. The ACMA found that the business had initially obtained consent to make telemarketing calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Register, but that the consent had lapsed after three months. This enforcement action took into account a range of factors, including the scale of the breaches, the business’ cooperation throughout the investigation, and its actions to ensure consent did not lapse in the future.
ACN 609 977 326 Pty Ltd (formerly We Fix Credit (Australia) Pty Ltd) The business was issued a formal warning for breaching section 16(1) of the Spam Act 2003 The investigation was commenced in relation to consumer complaints. It concerned email marketing activities in 2017. The ACMA found that the business could not demonstrate consent to send marketing emails. The business has since been deregistered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Learn about past ACMA enforcement actions for telemarketing and spam.

Investigation

We investigate where our intelligence indicates there may be a risk of harms to the public through serious, systemic or ongoing compliance issues.

Six investigations were finalised in the quarter and four were commenced. Four are ongoing. The average time to complete an investigation was four and a half months.

Investigations finalised in the quarter

Fig 1 Apr-Jun 2018_updated August 2019 png

Investigation outcomes in the quarter

Organisation* Outcome Details**
Telecommunications provider Breach of the DNCR Act The business called numbers on the Do Not Call Register without consent.
Telecommunications provider Breach of the DNCR Act The business called numbers on the Do Not Call Register without consent.
Independent education provider Breach of the Spam Act The business sent commercial email messages to consumers without consent.
Sports equipment business Breach of the Spam Act The business sent commercial email messages to consumers without consent.
IT products business Breach of the Spam Act The business sent commercial email messages to consumers without consent.
Financial services business No breach of the Spam Act Contrary to initial intelligence, the business had not been sending commercial electronic messages.

*The ACMA does not generally publish the names of entities that have not breached or where enforcement actions have not been finalised. **Full details of investigation findings and enforcement action taken will generally only be provided after public announcement. 

Compliance contacts

We contact businesses directly about issues raised in complaints from the public where enough information is available to identify the responsible party. Multiple complaints can lead to one compliance contact by the ACMA.

Fig 2 Apr-Jun 2018_updated August 2019 png

Complaints and other intelligence

Complaints from members of the public are a key source of intelligence that informs our actions.

Fig 3 Apr-Jun 2018_updated August 2019 png
*Telemarketing complaints include complaints about the Do Not Call Register and Telemarketing and Fax Marketing Industry Standards.

This quarter, key complaint trends included:

  • 34.6 per cent of complaints about telemarketing did not contain enough information to identify the caller. This includes where there is no information provided about the calling number.
  • 31.1 per cent of telemarketing complaints and 11.4 per cent of spam complaints related to scams, where the information, such as calling number or the name of the party, is often falsified.
  • Solar, financial services and utilities (gas, water and electricity) were the main areas of concern identified by consumers.

Industry (including email platforms) and members of the public can also provide intelligence about compliance through enquiries about spam or telemarketing, or by reporting spam emails or SMS directly to the ACMA. This information helps us to identify emerging compliance issues and trends.

Making a complaint and other information

Government, industry and the public all have important roles to play in ensuring unsolicited communications don’t unduly affect the lives of Australians. The ACMA is responsible for the consumer safeguards in the:

Below are links to more information:

We update this report quarterly—access prior reports.

Access data files (.ods, 5 kB) of all figures.

Note: Corrections were made to the figures in the graphs on 9 August 2019, specifically 'Investigations finalised in the quarter' and 'Complaints and other intelligence'.

Last updated: 09 August 2019