Action on unsolicited communications: October to December 2018 | ACMA

Action on unsolicited communications: October to December 2018

Infringment-notice png$25,200 infringement notice paid by Foxtel Management Pty Ltd for not ending a telemarketing call immediately when asked, and for not having adequate contractual arrangements in place with an outsourced call centre


Infringment-notice png$8,400 infringement notice paid by iSelect Limited for making telemarketing calls after consent was withdrawn


Infringment-notice png$8,400 infringement notice paid by Primus Telecommunications Pty Ltd for making telemarketing calls after consent was withdrawn


Formal-warning pngFormal warnings issued to 2 businesses


finalised-investigations png6 investigations were finalised and 7 were commenced


business-contact png909 contacts with businesses about compliance


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 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.

Recent developments

Report to the Minister on industry self-regulation

On 3 December 2018, the ACMA released its report to the Minister on Australia’s telemarketing and spam rules. The ACMA’s report was informed by two pieces of commissioned research:

Responding to the research, the ACMA has established a Scams Technology Project to explore practical technical solutions to address the proliferation of scam calls over Australian telecommunications networks.

Enforcement

Enforcement action for breaches can include Federal Court-imposed civil penalties, ACMA-issued infringement notices, formal warnings and court-enforceable undertakings. Learn about our compliance and enforcement approach.

Enforcement outcomes in the quarter

Organisation Outcome Details

Foxtel Management Pty Ltd

The business paid a $25,200 infringement notice for breaching sections 128(1) and 139(1) of the Telecommunications Act 1997, including the Telemarketing Industry Standard 2017

The investigation was commenced following consumer complaints.

The ACMA found that the business had continued to sell its products and services during calls after consumers indicated they wanted to end the calls, and that Foxtel did not have adequate contractual arrangements in place with an outsourced call centre. 

iSelect Limited

The business paid a $8,400 infringement notice for breaching section 11(1) of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006. 

The investigation was commenced following consumer complaints.

The ACMA found that the business had made telemarketing calls to numbers on the DNCR after consent had been withdrawn.

Primus Telecommunications Pty Ltd

The business paid a $8,400 infringement notice for breaching section 11(1) of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006. 

The investigation was commenced following consumer complaints.

The ACMA found that the business had made telemarketing calls to numbers on the DNCR after consent had been withdrawn.

Dodo Services Pty Ltd

The business was given a formal warning for breaching section 11(1) of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006.

The investigation was commenced following consumer complaints.

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

Premium Flight Club Pty Ltd

The business was given a formal warning for breaching section 11(1) of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006.

The investigation was commenced following consumer complaints.

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

Learn about past ACMA enforcement actions.

Investigation

We investigate where our intelligence indicates there may be a risk of harm to the public through serious, systemic or ongoing compliance issues.

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

Investigations finalised in the quarter

Fig 1 Oct-Dec 2018_updated png

Investigation outcomes in the quarter

Organisation* Outcome Details**

Foxtel Management Pty Ltd

Breach of the Telecommunications Act and Telemarketing Industry Standard

The ACMA found that the business had continued to sell its products and services during calls after consumers indicated they wanted to end the calls, and that the business did not have adequate contractual arrangements in place with its outsourced call centre.

Premium Flight Club Pty Ltd

Breach of the DNCR Act

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

Call centre*

Breach of the DNCR Act

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

Legal services lead generator*

Breach of the DNCR Act

The ACMA found that the business had caused telemarketing calls to be made to numbers on the DNCR without consent.
Comparison services provider No breach of the DNCR Act or the Telemarketing Industry Standard The ACMA found that the business had consent to call numbers on the DNCR, and consent to call outside of the time set in the Telemarketing Industry Standard.

*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.

Fig2-Oct-Dec 18 png

Complaints and other intelligence

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

Fig 3 Oct-Dec 2018_updated png

*Telemarketing complaints include complaints about the Do Not Call Register and Telemarketing and Fax Marketing Industry Standards.

This quarter, key complaint trends included:

  • 32 per cent of complaints about telemarketing did not contain enough information to identify the caller, including where there was no information provided about the calling number.
  • 28.4 per cent of telemarketing complaints and 14.94 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 and retail services. .

Industry (including email platforms) and members of the public can also provide 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.

Note: Corrections were made to the figures in the graphs on 9 August 2019, specifically 'Investigations finalised in the quarter' and 'Complaints and other intelligence'.

 

Last updated: 09 August 2019