Action on unsolicited communications July to September 2018 | ACMA

Action on unsolicited communications July to September 2018

Infringment-notice png $285,600 infringement notice paid by Lead My Way Pty Ltd for making telemarketing calls without consent


Infringment-notice png $50,400 infringement notice paid by Service Seeking Pty Ltd for sending marketing SMS without consent


Formal-warning pngFormal warnings issued to 3 businesses


finalised-investigations png 5 investigations were finalised and 6 were commenced


business-contact png 857 businesses contacted directly about their compliance obligations


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 2018–19, our focus is on the solar telemarketing, financial services marketing and spam SMS.

The ACMA has also set two education priorities for 2018–19—making informed choices about how to give and withdraw consent and 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

 

Lead My Way Pty Ltd

 

The business paid a $285,600 infringement notice for breaching section 11(1) of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006

 

The investigation commenced following consumer complaints.

The ACMA found that the business had made one or more telemarketing calls over a nine-day period in August 2017 to numbers on the DNCR without consent.

 

Service Seeking Pty Ltd

 

The business paid a $50,400 infringement notice for breaching section 16(1) of the Spam Act 2003

 

The investigation commenced following consumer complaints that concerned SMS marketing in 2017.

The ACMA found that the business sent one or more SMS marketing messages to numbers obtained from an online directory without consent.

The investigation also found that some of the messages did not include an unsubscribe statement and/or clearly identify the authoriser of the message.

 

ReachTel Pty Ltd

 

The business was given a formal warning for breaching the Telemarketing Industry Standard 2017

 

The investigation commenced in response to consumer complaints that concerned calls made in 2018.

The ACMA found that the business had made one or more research calls during prohibited calling times.

 

Force Industries Pty Ltd

 

The business was given a formal warning for breaching section 16(1) of the Spam Act 2003

 

The investigation commenced following consumer complaints that concerned email marketing in 2017.

The ACMA found that the business had sent one or more email marketing messages to numbers obtained from an online directory without consent.

 

Helen Katherine Woods

 

The sole trader was given a formal warning for breaching section 16(1) of the Spam Act 2003

 

The investigation commenced following consumer complaints that concerned email marketing in 2017 and 2018.

The ACMA found that the sole trader had sent one or more email marketing messages to numbers obtained from an online directory without consent.

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.

Five investigations were finalised in the quarter and six were commenced. Three are ongoing. The average time to complete an investigation was four months.

Investigations finalised in the quarter

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Investigation outcomes in the quarter

Organisation* Outcome Details**

Lead My Way Pty Ltd

Breach of the DNCR Act

The ACMA found that the business made telemarketing calls to numbers on the DNCR without consent.

Comparison service provider

Breach of the DNCR Act

The ACMA found that the business made telemarketing calls to numbers on the DNCR without consent.

Financial services provider

No breach of the DNCR Act

The ACMA found that the business did not call numbers on the DNCR during the period investigated.

ReachTel Pty Ltd

Breach of the Telemarketing Industry Standard

The ACMA found that the business made research calls outside permitted calling times.

Financial services provider

Breach of the Spam Act

The ACMA found that the business sent commercial email messages to consumers without consent.

*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.

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Complaints and other information

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

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*Telemarketing complaints include complaints about the DNCR and Telemarketing and Fax Marketing Industry Standards.

This quarter, key complaint trends included:

  • 34.2 per cent of complaints about telemarketing did not contain enough information to identify the caller, including instances where there was no information provided about the calling number.
  • 28.1 per cent of telemarketing complaints and 23.5 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, utilities (gas, water, electricity) and financial services continue to be the main areas of concern identified by consumers, particularly about telemarketing.
  • Other areas of concern identified in spam complaints include marketing about recreational services, retail services and business services.

Industry (including email platforms) and members of the public can also provide the ACMA with intelligence about compliance through enquiries about spam or telemarketing, or by reporting spam emails or SMS directly to us. 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 (.xlsx, 5 kB) of all figures.

Last updated: 12 October 2018