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Action on spam and telemarketing: July to September 2020

Our key actions

Woolworths Group Limited ­– enforcement action announced for spam breaches: $1,003,800 infringement notice and court-enforceable commitments

Green Sales Pty Ltd – enforcement action announced for telemarketing breaches:

$50,400 infringement notice

formal warnings issued for breaches of spam and telemarketing laws

1,239 compliance alerts given to businesses

Consumer scam awareness campaign launched

Our priorities

Financial service marketing and phone scams are our compliance focus areas for 2020–21.

View all our current compliance priorities.

Combating scams

We are implementing our Combating scams: Action plan. Actions this quarter included:

  • Industry peak body Communications Alliance submitted the Reducing Scams Calls industry code to the ACMA for registration. When registered, the code will place enforceable obligations on telcos to identify, trace, report and block scam calls.
  • We launched new resources to help Australians protect themselves from scams on their home and mobile phones. These are available for individuals and organisations to use.
  • We worked behind the scenes with government agencies and telcos to disrupt SMS scams.
  • Our work included disruption of scams involving those impersonating government and other trusted brands.

We issued scam alerts through social media, including Facebook and Twitter. These covered scammers impersonating the Australian Tax Office via SMS and the Department of Home Affairs via telephone calls. Find out more about how to protect yourself from scams.

Investigations and enforcement

View our enforcement actions for breaches of spam and telemarketing laws, including our actions against:

  • Woolworths Group Limited for over 5 million breaches of the spam laws via marketing emails to consumers after they had unsubscribed.
  • Green Sales Pty Ltd for calling numbers on the Do Not Call Register without consent. This included:
    • not terminating specific calls upon request by the recipient
    • failing to provide information about who was calling at the start of some calls.

We had 14 investigations in progress this quarter, and finalised 7. Investigations take 3.3 months on average to complete.

Find out more about our compliance and enforcement role and the penalties for breaking the rules.

Finalised investigations

Figure 1

Compliance alerts

We generally alert businesses about potential compliance issues raised in complaints. We provide details to the business where the complainant has given us permission to do so.

If the issues continue, we may investigate. One alert can include several issues or complaints.

Figure 2


Consumer complaints directly inform our actions and help us identify issues and trends.

  • 42.1% of telemarketing and 57.4% of spam complaints were about scams.
  • The most common complaints were about financial services, retail marketing and solar telemarketing.
  • 41.9% of complaints about telemarketing did not contain enough detail to identify the caller. Giving us as much information as possible helps us to stop non-compliance.

Figure 3

Note: We also received 13 complaints about commercial instant messages this quarter (and 19 last year).

More information

Find out more about spam and telemarketing rules and what actions you can take.

Subscribe to our newsletters to get updates about our actions on telemarketing, spam and scams.

Access the data

Download the data for the charts in this report:

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