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How to prevent telemarketing calls

Information about how to stop telemarketers calling.

Do Not Call Register

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) keeps a Do Not Call Register. Any private Australian telephone number can be registered. The restriction only lasts for 5 years so the number will have to be re-registered after this time.

Once a number is registered, a telemarketer is not allowed to call the number. If a telemarketer does call, the consumer can complain to ACMA and the telemarketer may be investigated or fined.

Penalty

These civil penalties are set out in the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth). Penalties depend on whether the offender is an individual or a company, and whether they have been caught before.

See How to complain and r. 25—Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Some organisations may still call

Some organisations are exempted and may still call though a number is registered. These organisations include:

  • charities
  • government bodies
  • political parties
  • market research companies
  • religious bodies.

How to register

Registration can be made online, by email, post or by phone. The ACMA site has all of the details.

See ACMA—Do not call register—Protect yoursef from unwanted calls and faxes(opens in a new window).

What to do with an unwelcome caller

If a number is on the register and a telemarketer phones:

  • ask who is calling and write down their name and contact details
  • tell them you would like to end the call and not to call back
  • consider making a complaint to ACMA.

Unwanted calls could be harassment

Even if the number falls under one of the exemptions, if a person is being hassled they should tell the caller not to call back.

The telemarketer must hang up if you ask them to. If a telemarketer does not do this, a consumer can complain to ACMA.
If the calls are excessive so that they make a person feel intimidated tired or demoralised this conduct could be harassment under s. 50 of the Australian Consumer Law, depending on the circumstances. It does not have to happen more than once. The consumer can complain to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) about this.

See 'Harassment and coercion' under CAV—Telemarketing(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Telemarketing and Research Calls Industry Standard 2007 (Cth)

  • s. 7(1)(b)—requirement to end call upon request

See Telemarketing and Research Industry Standard 2007 (Cth)(opens in a new window)

Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth)

  • Part 3—Do Not Call Register structure, eligibility requirements
  • ss. 11, 8—civil penalty can be imposed if a telemarketer calls numbers on Do Not Call Register
  • s. 17—sets out how long registration lasts (note: increased by Do Not Call Register (Duration of Registration) Specification (No. 1) 2010 (Cth) - link below)
  • Schedule 1 and ss. 11(1)(b)—certain organisations may still call

See Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Do Not Call Register (Duration of Registration) Specification (No. 1) 2010 (Cth)

  • increases the duration of a registration from 3 to 5 years

See Do Not Call Register (Duration of Registration) Specification (No. 1) 2010 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) Schedule 2

  • s. 50—harassment provision

See Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)—Schedule 2—The Australian Consumer Law(opens in a new window).

Reference

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

There is information from the ACMA site about adding a number to the do-not-call register and about making a complaint.

See ACMA—Do not call register—Protect yoursef from unwanted calls and faxes(opens in a new window).

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

This site has information about how and when to make a complaint about unwanted phone calls from telemarketers and other door-to-door sales people.

See CAV—Telemarketing(opens in a new window).

Updated