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 one of the priority compliance areas identified by the ACMA for regulatory focus.
The ACMA receives a significant number of complaints about telemarketing calls relating to solar products and services. Telemarketing is conducted both by businesses directly selling their products and services, and by other companies known as ‘lead generators’. Lead generators make calls to see if people are interested in products or services, and then sell these details to solar businesses as potential customers. Some of these businesses may be located off-shore.
In March 2018, Solar power business Allied Construction and Roofing Pty Ltd paid a $21,600 infringement notice for calling numbers on the Do Not Call Register without consent following investigations by the ACMA. You can read more about this case on the ACMA website.
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 set up appointments for you, you can be held responsible for any calls to numbers on the register.
You are not allowed to make any unsolicited telemarketing calls to any number listed on the Register.
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.
Just one call to a registered number could result in a penalty. 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.
For more information visit the Do Not Call Register website.