Actions speak louder than words | ACMA


06 November, 2013 02:33 PM


Actions speak louder than words

By Gus Ortega-Montiel


Many of us know what it’s like to receive a spam email or SMS, or an unsolicited telemarketing call—and we’re not afraid to take action, according to new ACMA research (PDF | Word).

In 2012–13, the ACMA received over 430,000 complaints from Australians about spam email, SMS and telemarketing. But what are the numbers driving these complaints?

In a typical month, nearly three-quarters of Australians with an email address get spam email, and more than a quarter of us with a mobile phone receive a spam SMS.

Over a week, our inboxes fill up quickly—more than half of us receive between one and six spam emails, and one-third receive seven or more. And this is despite most of us having spam filters.

Although these numbers are high, many of us see spam emails as more a nuisance than a concern because they’re easy to recognise and delete—but we do have our limits! More than half of those who get 30 or more spam emails a week find them very problematic.

While they’re less common than spam emails, Australians also reported spam SMS to be a significant problem. People who receive them are particularly worried about privacy and the security of their personal information.

Of all unsolicited communications, telemarketing calls—received by 40 per cent of Australians in the previous month—were declared the most problematic, with more than half of recipients reporting them as often or always a problem.

So, what are we doing about it? The most common response is to delete spam emails and SMS—either before or after opening them. And we often hang up on telemarketers—either straight away or during the call.

Consumers can also complain about and report unsolicited communications to the ACMA:

Under various legislation, including the Spam Act 2003 and the Do Not Call Register Act 2006, the ACMA also has the power to investigate and take enforcement action.

For more information about Australians’ experience of spam and unwanted calls, read the full research report, Unsolicited telemarketing calls and spam—Consumer experiences (PDF | Word).

Read more ACMA blogs here.