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Retailers must meet certain obligations when engaging in any telemarketing activities - including where these services are outsourced.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is responsible for the operation of the Do Not Call Register and for ensuring compliance with rules governing telemarketing activities.

Solar industry-related telemarketing activity is a key focus for the ACMA, due to the high number of complaints received. A large number of these complaints regard calls made by call centres either on behalf of solar businesses or with the intention of gathering customer leads to then on sell to solar businesses.

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 that engaged them. Just one call to a registered number could result in a penalty.

Are you aware of your obligations?

If you make telemarketing calls or engage a call centre to make calls on your behalf, you need to ensure all numbers are checked against the Do Not Call Register prior to calling. Even if you purchase telephone numbers or leads from a third party, or you engage a call centre to make calls for you, you are still responsible for ensuring calls are not made to numbers on the register.

You are not allowed to make any unsolicited telemarketing calls to any number listed on the Register.

Telemarketing industry standard

Even if a number is not on the Do Not Call Register, you must still comply with the rules contained in the industry standard.

The standard contains rules for:

  • prohibited calling times
  • provision of information during telemarketing calls (e.g. the name of the individual making the call and the contact details of the business causing the call to be made)
  • call termination
  • enabling the display of the telephone number making the call, and ensuring the number can receive return calls for at least 30 days.

Businesses should familiarise themselves with the industry standard, as failure to comply may result in a penalty.

More information can be found on the Do Not Call Register website.

What can you do?

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 are 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.
  • Double check yourself. Before calling any lead sent to you from your telemarketer, first check it against the register. There is a washing service on the Do Not Call Register website. You can check up to 500 numbers for free. If you discover that a number is registered, then you can be certain the call centre isn't checking the numbers for you.

For more information visit the Do Not Call Register website.