In 2015, a spate of complaints about telemarketing calls relating to solar products and installation prompted the ACMA to run a national information campaign directed at the retail solar industry. We worked closely with the Clean Energy Council to contact more than 4,000 solar retailers to reiterate their obligations in relation to making telemarketing calls, and especially the need to properly supervise any third-party call centres.
We've recently concluded a formal investigation into a solar retailer and its call centre. We found that both were responsible for the telemarketing calls made to numbers on the register, which meant both were in breach of their legal obligations under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006.
The arrangement between the companies involved we investigated is a common one in the solar product industry—a call centre enters into an agreement with a solar retailer to provide warn leads for consumers who may be interested in their products. Those leads are then used by the solar retailer to make follow-up calls to arrange a time for an on-site quote.
However, what gets businesses with these types of arrangements in potential hot water with the ACMA, is when they start making calls to numbers listed on the register. People put their numbers on the register because they don't want to receive telemarketing calls. When they do then receive these unwanted calls, they lodge complaints with the ACMA. In response, we issue compliance warnings to the businesses and start monitoring them. If complaints about those businesses continue, as we just described, a formal investigation leading to enforcement action will be the outcome.
It's easy to stay off our radar. If you engage a call centre to generate leads for your business, there are some straightforward steps you should follow to avoid calling registered numbers. These include:
- Establish a written agreement with your chosen call centre. Take the time to write up a formal agreement that outlines compliance with the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and that specifies who is responsible for checking numbers against the register.
- Ask for proof. Don't just take the call centre's word they're complying with the Do Not Call rules. Ask them to prove that they're checking numbers against the register by showing you washing receipts for numbers they've checked. This is really important—in our experience, businesses that don't keep a close eye on their call centre's compliance end up with problems.
- Double check yourself. Before calling any lead sent to you from your telemarketer, first check it against the register. You can check up to 500 numbers for free. If you discover that the number is registered, then you can be certain the call centre isn't checking the numbers for you.
Just one call to a registered number could result in a penalty of $3,600. Remember, it's not just the call centre that can be held liable for telemarketing calls made to people on the register, but also the business who engaged them.
Where can I get more information?
- Check numbers on the register by setting up an account online, or you can call them on 1300 785 749.
- To learn more about your requirements to comply, see our overview for industry page.
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