[LINK] Phone firms told to stop being pests

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Fri Jan 16 10:30:02 AEDT 2009

Phone firms told to stop being pests
Yuko Narushima
January 16, 2009

Don't call me, I'll call you. That oft used line is not getting through 
to phone companies, who are responsible for most nuisance phone calls to 
private numbers in Australia, the Australian Communications and Media 
Authority says.

The regulator's chairman, Chris Chapman, told telecommunications 
companies yesterday to improve their performance, saying 55 per cent of 
complaints the regulator received stemmed from unwanted calls promoting 
phone plans and other related services.

"Consumers register their telephone numbers because they want to reduce 
the number of telemarketing calls," Mr Chapman said. "It is unacceptable 
to see that some telcos are not respecting that decision."

Since May 2007 it has been illegal for telemarketers to call numbers 
listed on a "Do not call" register without consent. This includes mobile 
and fixed line numbers.

That people who signed up to the register continued to be pestered was a 
concern, Mr Chapman said. The use of overseas call centres had 
contributed to the problem, he said.

In the past year the authority fined four telecommunications companies, 
among them was a fine of $147,000 imposed on Dodo Australia in October. 
Enforceable undertakings were accepted from Dodo, Astron Communications 
and People Telecom, and formal warnings were issued to Global Telelinks, 
Ezycall and m8 Telecom.

The authority estimated that 5 per cent of all businesses complained 
about were responsible for 70 per cent of the total complaints received.

According to an online survey of 1000 people by the Australia Institute 
last year, those on the register say they received seven unsolicited 
telemarketing calls a month, compared with 10 a month for those not on 
the register.

The study, Go Away Please, found Australians spent an average of 1.45 
minutes on a telemarketing call or 147 minutes a year. That is a few 
minutes shy of the running time of the movie epic Australia.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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