Action on unsolicited communications: January to March 2018 | ACMA

Action on unsolicited communications: January to March 2018

Infringment-notice png 

$21,600 infringement notice paid by a solar telemarketer for making telemarketing calls without consent

Infringment-notice png $10,800 infringement notice paid by a solar telemarketer for making telemarketing calls without consent
telemarketing-complaints png 9,000+ complaints about telemarketing assessed
spam-complaints png 190,000+ spam complaints and reports received and triaged
business-contact png 700+ 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 about non-compliance (along with general reports about spam forwarded by consumers, industry and other entities) are a key source of intelligence to help us identify serious or ongoing issues. Complaints are important and directly inform our approach to fostering industry compliance.

Spam complaints and reports

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Telemarketing complaints*

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

Observations about complaints

This quarter, there were a significant number of spam complaints about:

  • scams—such as emails or SMS that contain phishing or malware (approximately 20 per cent of all complaints)
  • retail offers—such as daily deal aggregators or store emails (approximately 19 per cent)
  • recreational services—such as health and fitness, travel, gambling and food services (approximately 14 per cent).

This quarter, there were a significant number of telemarketing complaints about:

  • scams—such as computer repair scams or impersonation scams (approximately 30 per cent)
  • solar businesses (approximately 12 per cent)
  • utilities—such as gas, water or electricity (approximately five per cent)
  • financial services—such as financial advice and insurance (approximately four per cent).

Many complaints did not contain enough information for us to identify the business and make direct compliance contact.

Action

Direct compliance contact

We contact businesses and organisations directly about their compliance obligations in response to complaints where we can identify the entity. This initial contact can often resolve compliance issues. Direct contact may relate to single or multiple allegations of non-compliance from one or more consumers.

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Investigations

Investigations finalised

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

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January to March investigation outcomes

Organisation* Outcome Details
Electricity marketer No breach of the DNCR Act The business had evidence of consent to call numbers on the Do Not Call Register, despite consumer complaints.
Debt repair service provider  Breach of the Spam Act  The business sent commercial email messages to consumers without consent.
Glazing business  Breach of the DNCR Act  The business called numbers on the Do Not Call Register without consent.

*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 court-enforceable undertakings. Learn about enforcement powers for spam and telemarketing.

January to March enforcement actions finalised

Organisation Outcome Action 
Instyle Solar Pty Ltd Breach of the DNCR Act

The business paid an infringement notice of $10,800 for breaches of the DNCR Act. This breach concerns our solar industry priority compliance area.

Allied Construction and Roofing Pty Ltd Breach of the DNCR Act The business paid an infringement notice of $21,600 for breaches of the DNCR Act. The ACMA also accepted a court enforceable undertaking setting out specific measures to ensure compliance with telemarketing laws. This breach concerns our solar industry priority compliance area.

Learn about past ACMA enforcement actions for telemarketing and spam.

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 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 their obligations, and raise awareness among consumers about their rights. This quarter, our actions included:

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. Below are links to more information.

We update this report quarterly—access prior reports.

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

 

Last updated: 11 August 2019