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Action on spam and telemarketing Oct to Dec 2017

$360,000 infringement notice $360,000 infringement notice paid by TPG Internet Pty Ltd for breaching the Spam Act 
8,000+ complaints 8,000+ complaints about telemarketing assessed
240,000+ spam complaints 240,000+ spam complaints assessed and reports triaged
719 contacts 719 contacts with businesses about compliance

Our current areas of focus are solar telemarketing, marketing by registered charities and consent-based marketing.

Consumer complaints and reports

Consumer complaints alleging non-compliance (along with spam reports forwarded by consumers, industry and other entities) are a key source of intelligence to help us identify serious or ongoing issues. All complaints are important and directly inform our approach to fostering industry compliance. Complaint and report numbers fluctuate regularly.

Spam complaints and reports

Spam complaints and reports

Telemarketing complaints*

Telemarketing complaints

*Includes complaints about alleged breaches of the Do Not Call Register and Telemarketing and Fax Marketing Industry Standards.

High-level observations this quarter:

  • 20% decrease in telemarketing complaints, largely due to a fall in complaints during December, which is consistent with previous seasonal trends.
  • 8% decrease in spam complaints and reports following a spike last quarter that was largely attributable to non-commercial messages about the Australian Marriage Law Survey not covered by the Spam Act.


Compliance warnings

We generally contact businesses and organisations directly about their compliance obligations where complaints are about an identifiable entity. In the majority of cases, this initial contact resolves compliance issues. A compliance warning to an entity may relate to single or multiple allegations of non-compliance from one or more consumers.

Compliance warnings issued

Compliance warnings issued


We may investigate where complaints or intelligence indicates there may be serious or ongoing breaches.

Investigations finalised

Investigations finalised

October to December investigation outcomes

Organisation* Outcome Details
Online marketplace business Breach of the Spam Act The business sent commercial SMS messages to consumers without consent, and without accurate authoriser information or an unsubscribe statement. This breach concerns the consent-based marketing ACMA priority compliance area.
Insurance business No breach of the Spam Act Despite consumer allegations, the business had evidence of consent to send messages to consumers, which was generally gathered through online surveys. Messages were sent through third-party networks (known as affiliate marketing).
Solar product business Breach of the DNCR Act The business called numbers on the Do Not Call Register without consent. This breach concerns the solar industry ACMA priority compliance area.

*The ACMA does not generally publish the names of entities that have not breached or where enforcement actions have not been finalised.

Enforcement actions

Enforcement action may be taken where breaches are found and can include Federal Court-imposed civil penalties, ACMA-issued infringement notices, formal warnings and accepting court-enforceable undertakings. Enforcement actions are usually published.

October to December enforcement actions finalised

Organisation Outcome Action
TPG Internet Pty Ltd Breach of the Spam Act TPG paid an infringement notice of $360,000 for contraventions of the Spam Act. 
ValueAd Marketing Pty Ltd Breach of the Spam Act The ACMA issued a formal warning for contraventions of the Spam Act. 

Priority compliance areas

As part of our overall activity, we identify particular industry sectors or issues that require a regulatory focus. Our unsolicited communications priority compliance areas (PCAs) for 2017–18 are:

  • solar industry-related telemarketing
  • registered charities’ compliance with the Telemarketing Industry Standard and Spam Act
  • consent-based marketing practices.

We base our priority compliance areas on consumer reports and complaints, market research and intelligence from key stakeholders, including industry and international partners. Our compliance and enforcement work is not limited to these areas—we also act to ensure other compliance issues are dealt with promptly.

Education and awareness-raising

We promote compliance, educate industry about its obligations, and raise awareness among consumers of their rights. This quarter, we:

  • reached out to a range of industry and consumer groups about the PCAs to share information and promote best practice, including in the Australian Solar Council newsletter
  • published information about our PCAs on social media
  • issued consumer alerts about scams concerning BitCoin and Ethereum, the Do Not Call Register and unsecured loans.

Note: Corrections were made to the figures in the graphs on 12 August 2019, specifically 'Spam complaints and reports', 'Telemarketing complaints' and 'Investigations finalised'.

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