Transcript of "Acxiom Submission - DNC - 18 September 2008"
tel : +61 2 9032 3100
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GPO Box 2633 Sydney 2001 www.acxiom.com.au
Spam & Do Not Call Register Section
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
GPO Box 2154
18 September 2008
Re: Discussion Paper - Eligibility requirements for registration on the Do Not Call Register
Acxiom Australia Pty Limited (“Acxiom”) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the above Discussion
Paper published by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy’s (DBCDE).
Background – Acxiom Australia
Acxiom Australia was established in 1999 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Acxiom Corporation.
Acxiom supplies data and data management, data quality, identity verification, and fraud detection
services to private sector, government and charitable organisations.
Acxiom’s clients span a variety of industry sectors, including financial services, insurance,
telecommunications, utilities and retail, as well as non-profit and government.
Acxiom’s interest in the issues raised in the Discussion Paper are two-fold:
Firstly, Acxiom supplies data and data services to organisations that use telemarketing as part of their
business-to-business (B2B) sales and marketing strategy. This is through both the provisions and
cleansing of telemarketing data.
Secondly, Acxiom utilizes telemarketing internally to make sales and service calls to existing clients and
prospects regarding Acxiom’s products and services. This is an essential element of Acxiom’s B2B sales
approach in Australia.
In summary, Acxiom’s submission states the following:
• Acxiom considers that, at a time of considerable economic uncertainty, it would be unreasonable for
the Government to (i) consider placing restrictions the ability for organisations to acquire and grow
business opportunities through telephone marketing (ii) introduce a additional business costs that will
directly affect revenue and profitability;
Acxiom Australia Pty Limited
ABN 95 087 293 525
• Acxiom is reliant on telephone marketing as a sales channel and considers that extending the Do Not
Call Register to allow registration of business telephone numbers would significantly impact the ability
to service existing client and acquire new business. Therefore, Acxiom does not support the inclusion
of business numbers on the Do Not Call Register;
• Acxiom does not support the inclusion of fax numbers on the Do Not Call Register. Should fax
numbers be incorporated within the Do Not Call Register Act it should be limited to the current scope
of the legislation – i.e. to fax numbers that are ‘wholly or primarily for domestic purposes’.
• If it has been demonstrated that telemarketing calls to emergency service lines is an existing problem,
Acxiom would support the inclusion of emergency telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register but
only insofar as those telephone numbers relate to emergency lines as distinct from administrative
telephone lines within an emergency service.
In making this submission, Acxiom has addressed the following four issues raised in the Discussion Paper:
(a) whether all businesses should be able to register telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register
(b) whether small businesses should be able to register telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register
(c) whether fax numbers should be registered on the Do Not Call Register
(d) whether emergency numbers should be registered on the Do Not Call Register
In responding to the issues raised by DBCDE, Acxiom would like to confirm its support for the submission
made by the Australian Direct Marketing Association.
(a) Registration of all business telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register.
Acxiom strongly opposes the inclusion of business telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register for
the following reasons
• Impact on business: Most companies, including Acxiom, utilize telephone marketing as key part
of the sales process. Generally, such telemarketing is not undertaken as a specific telemarketing
campaign but more likely to be ad-hoc sales or service calls to existing clients or potential new
customers that use Acxiom products and services. Extending the Do Not Call Register to include
business telephone numbers would:
(i) Limit Acxiom’s ability to service existing clients and acquire new customers. Acxiom sales
staff are reliant on the telephone as a sales and marketing channel. If this channel were
restricted it would have a direct and significant impact on Acxiom’s ability to conduct
(ii) Introduce administrative difficulties as sales staff would be required to screen individual
telephone numbers before making ad-hoc sales, marketing or service calls to both clients
and new business prospects;
(iii) Cause considerable confusion as Acxiom staff would need to determine in advance
whether consent had been obtained to make the telephone call. This raises the additional
complexity of determining whether an individual or a business provides consent.
(iv) Result in additional business cost as internal systems and procedures would need to be
adopted, built and maintained to record consents obtained.
• Cost to business: The current economic environment has resulted in many businesses being in a
far weaker financial position than in previous years. Acxiom considers that it would be
irresponsible of the Government to introduce legislation that effectively both (i) restricts the ability
for organisations to acquire new business and clients; and (ii) introduces new business cost that
directly affects an organisations revenue.
• No evidence to suggest a problem: Acxiom is concerned that the Discussion Paper does not
provide any evidence that this B2B telephone marketing is a problem that requires addressing.
• Small business justification lacks foundation: The Discussion Paper alludes to small business
being the justification for the inclusion of business telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register
i.e. that small businesses object to the receipt B2B telemarketing calls. However, DBCDE has not
provided any further information to substantiate this suggestion. Acxiom would also like to
highlight the following:
o A significant number of small businesses are reliant on telephone marketing as a sales
o Although inclusion of business telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register would
reduce the number calls received by a small business it would also (i) reduce the number of
calls that could be made by a small business; and (ii) add a new business expense that
small businesses would need to absorbed into their bottom line.
(b) Registration of small business numbers on the Do Not Call Register
Acxiom submits that the Do Not Call Register Act should not be extended to permit small business to
register their telephone numbers. As outlined above, a large proportion of small businesses are reliant
on the telephone as a sales channel. Extending the Do Not Call Register to permit the registration of
small business telephone numbers have the counter effect of increasing business operating costs
whilst reducing the number of calls that can be made to generate revenue. Neither of these outcomes
are beneficial for small organisations. Furthermore, it should also be noted that most B2B sales calls
made by small businesses are made to other small businesses.
In addition to these reasons, Acxiom would like to submit the following arguments for opposing the
registration of small business telephone numbers:
• Inability to identify a ‘small business’: The Discussion Paper suggests that small businesses
should be permitted to register their telephone numbers. However, this raises the difficulty of
defining what constitutes a ‘small business’. Even if a suitable definition of ‘small business’ was
adopted, it would be almost impossible to police the registration process to ensure that only
organisations constituting a ‘small business’ were able register on the Do Not Call Register.
Further, the administrative cost in (i) distinguishing small businesses; and (ii) ensuring only small
businesses can register; would be significant and borne solely by business. Acxiom submits that
the cost far outweigh any benefit that may result from the inclusion of small business numbers on
the Do Not Call Register.
• Small businesses account for 98% of businesses in Australia: Therefore, extending the Do
Not Call Register to incorporate small business telephone numbers has the same effect as
extending the Register to incorporate all business numbers.
(c) Registration of fax numbers on the Do Not Call Register
Acxiom does not support the inclusion of fax numbers on the Do Not Call Register for the following
• Inability to distinguish a fax number from a telephone number: Should the Do Not Call
register be extended to include fax numbers it will introduce a difficulty in distinguishing telephone
numbers from fax numbers. In many cases, a single number is used as both a fax and a telephone
number. Therefore, if an individual registers the number they will be automatically opting-out of
receiving both fax and telephone marketing when their objection may only relate to one of the
marketing channels. This is unduly restrictive for businesses.
• The solution is too heavy-handed for the problem identified: : The Discussion Paper suggests
that complaints have been received from individuals that have home-based offices due to faxes
being received at inappropriate hours and wasting office resources such as paper. Acxiom
submits that, if DBCDE is considering allowing registration of all fax numbers on the Do Not Call
Register to address the problem experienced by home-based offices, the solution is far too broad
and heavy-handed, extending far beyond that required to address a relatively narrow problem.
If the receipt of faxes by home-based offices is the cause of significant concern, and Acxiom does
not consider that sufficient evidence has been provided in the Discussion Paper to prove that this
is the case, then it would not justify extending the Do Not Call Register Act to allow for registration
of all fax numbers. A more appropriate and measured response would be to allow the registration
of fax numbers but only to extent permitted by the current legislation – i.e. allow the registration of
fax numbers that are ‘wholly or primarily for domestic purposes’. This would specifically address
the home-based offices without overly restricting other marketing practices.
(d) Registration of emergency numbers on the Do Not Call Register
Acxiom does not object to the registration of emergency numbers. However, it does consider a clear
distinction needs to be made between true emergency lines and administrative telephone lines within
an emergency service. Registration should only be permitted in relation to the former.
In conclusion, Acxiom would like to reiterate that it does not consider it appropriate or necessary for
business telephone or fax numbers to be registered on the Do Not Call Register. There has only been one
example worldwide of a B2B Do Not Call Register and, as outlined in ADMA’s submission, this has proved
to be a significant burden on industry, both in terms of cost and administration.
Taking into account the current economic environment Acxiom strongly believes that DBCDE should not
proceed down the path of a B2B Do Not Call Register.
Acxiom would welcome the opportunity to further discuss this important issue and the matters raised in this
Chief Privacy & Compliance Officer