For many Australians, nothing is more frustrating than hearing the phone ring, only to have a stranger try to sell you a product you don’t want or give you information you don’t need.
The calls, which can occur at any time of the day or night, leave many Boomers afraid to answer their phones or having to individually block numbers on their mobiles. With a spike in scams in recent times, Baby Boomers are wising up to not giving out information to strangers over the phone – particularly when they ring up out of the blue.
For those sick of ignoring their ringing phone or constantly blocking unknown numbers, there’s a quick, easy and free way to reduce the number of telemarketing calls to your phone. The Australian Government has set up a free ‘Do Not Call Register’, which has actually been running since 2006. The secure database is a place where both individuals and businesses can register their Australian telephone, mobile or fax details so they no longer receive as many unsolicited telemarketing calls or faxes.
Once a person registers their phone number either online or over the phone, their number will stay on the register unless they specifically ask for it to be removed. The register is managed by the Australian Media and Communications Authority (the ACMA) and telemarketers and fax marketers are required by law to no longer contact you. Having said that, it can take 30 days for calls to stop coming through from the moment a number is registered.
The ACMA also warns that registering won’t stop all unsolicited marketing calls and faxes. For example, registered political parties, educational institutions and charities will still be able to make calls. Equally, if you have a relationship with an organisation such as a utility provider or financial institution, they may also be able to still call.
Sadly, registering does not stop scam calls, so it is always best to avoid giving out details over the phone to people or organisations you’re not familiar with. If you have registered your number and continue to receive unsolicited calls after 30 days, a complaint can be lodged online via the official website. Complaints can also be made if you’re receiving calls before 9am or after 8pm on weekdays, before 9am or after 5pm on Saturdays and any call on a Sunday or a public holiday.
Last month, telemarketing company Lead My Way was hit with a whopping $285,600 infringement notice after being caught calling people on the Do Not Call Register. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued the fine after finding Lead My Way had been calling people on the register in its attempts to promote energy deals.
ACMA acting chair Creina Chapman recently told Starts at 60 said the recent crackdown is a timely reminder telemarketing businesses must comply with the law.
“Consumers are fed up with telemarketing calls that they haven’t agreed to receive,” she told Starts at 60. “It’s unacceptable for a business that relies on telemarketing to have insufficient compliance processes in place. Lead generators are on notice that the ACMA will take strong action against telemarketers that break the rules.”
The easiest way to register or check if you’ve registered is to visit donotcall.gov.au or 1300 792 958.