Telemarketing complaint handling policy | ACMA

Telemarketing complaint handling policy

Make your complaint heard, by directing it to the right place.

In handling consumer complaints and overseeing compliance with the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (DNCR Act) and the related industry standards, the ACMA aims to minimise the number of prohibited telemarketing calls and marketing faxes that are made to registered numbers by:

  1. educating the telemarketing and fax marketing industries about the register

  2. writing to telemarketers and fax marketers when complaints are received and working with them to achieve compliance

  3. conducting investigations and taking enforcement action where appropriate.

Consumer complaints are very valuable to the ACMA. The ACMA uses the information provided in consumer complaints to inform and target its education, warnings and investigations.

The ACMA assesses every complaint it receives although not all individual complaints will lead to the ACMA investigating a matter.

Making a complaint about a telemarketing call or a marketing fax

You can make a complaint if you believe you have received:

  1. a prohibited telemarketing call or marketing fax more than 30 days after placing your number on the register

  2. a telemarketing call or marketing fax that didn’t comply with the relevant industry standard (for more information see Telemarketing and Research Industry Standard and Fax Marketing Industry Standard).

In order for the ACMA to be able to try and identify and locate the business responsible for the telemarketing call or fax you are complaining about, you will need to provide the date and time of the call or fax you received plus as many of the following details as possible:

  1. the name of the person making the call or sending the fax

  2. the contact details (such as a website or telephone or fax number) of the companies/businesses involved

  3. the name of the company or business on whose behalf the call or fax was made or sent (for example, the caller/sender may be employed by one company but make the call/fax on behalf of another company)

  4. what the call or fax was about

  5. the Calling Line Identification (CLI).

To make a complaint, you can fill in a complaint form at www.donotcall.gov.au or phone 1300 792 958.

The complaints-handling process

All complaints are initially assessed by the register operator, to check whether there may be a potential breach of the DNCR Act and/or the relevant industry standard. If so, it is forwarded to the ACMA for attention.

You will receive an acknowledgement from the register operator within two business days of making the complaint which will also advise you if your complaint has been referred to the ACMA for further assessment.

Where your complaint is referred to the ACMA, an ACMA staff member will review the complaint to assess:

  1. whether the complaint raises a potential contravention of the DNCR Act and/or relevant industry standard, and if it does,

  2. whether the company or business that made the call or sent the fax can be identified based on the information provided by you.

What happens to your complaint?

The ACMA takes a stepped approach to compliance and enforcement, which is aimed at minimising prohibited calls and faxes to registered numbers as quickly and effectively as possible.

The action taken by the ACMA will depend on the circumstances of each complaint, but where the ACMA receives a complaint and can identify the caller or sender, it generally will take the following graduated approach:

Informal stage

1. Advise: For first-time complaints, the ACMA will write to the telemarketer or fax marketer, advising that a complaint has been received. This letter provides information about the register and the rules, and may recommend that it review its practices and procedures to ensure compliance.

After an advisory letter is sent, the ACMA monitors the business for 180 days.

2. Warn: Where further complaints are received (generally five or more) in the 180 days following an advisory letter, the ACMA sends an informal warning letter to the telemarketer or fax marketer. The telemarketer or fax marketer is warned that the ACMA will monitor the business for 180 days and if further complaints are received, a formal investigation may be commenced and further action taken.

Formal stage

3. Investigate: Where the ACMA continues to receive complaints after a warning letter has been sent, it may commence an investigation. In deciding whether to commence an investigation, the ACMA considers a range of factors, including: the number and nature of complaints received; any potential consumer detriment; whether the conduct appears to be ongoing and/or systemic; and any contact the ACMA has had with the business previously.

The ACMA may escalate action more quickly where required, for example by moving straight to the warning stage or investigation without first sending an advisory letter. The ACMA may also de-escalate action where appropriate.

What information can you expect to receive from the ACMA?

When your complaint is forwarded to the ACMA for action, the ACMA will let you know:

  1. whether the ACMA could identify the company or business making the telemarketing call or sending the marketing fax

  2. if it could be identified, what stage the ACMA’s monitoring process is at (advise/warn).

Most complaints are resolved at the informal stages and the ACMA will not re-contact complainants. Where the ACMA commences an investigation, it may write to you to notify you that a formal investigation is being undertaken and may notify you of the outcome of the investigation.

Investigations may take several months to complete. The ACMA may contact you if it thinks that you can provide further evidence and information. However, the ACMA does not provide updates to complainants during the course of an investigation.

Where the ACMA finds it has reasonable grounds to believe a telemarketer or fax marketer has breached the legislation, it has a number of enforcement options available to it. For further information, please refer to Enforcement action and penalties, visit www.donotcall.gov.au or call 1300 792 958.

Further information

If you would like further information about the ACMA’s telemarketing and fax marketing complaint handling practices, or have any questions or concerns about the handling of a complaint you have made, you can contact our investigations team at dncinvestigations@acma.gov.au or by calling 1300 792 958.

Please note: This publication intentionally avoids the use of legal language and information about the law may have been summarised or expressed in general statements. The information in this publication should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional legal advice or reference to the actual legislation.

 

Last updated: 21 January 2019