tel : +61 2 9032 3100
    Level 9, 151 Clarence St       fax : +61 2 9016 4828
    Sydney NSW 2000 Australia      infoau@a...
•     Acxiom is reliant on telephone marketing as a sales channel and considers that extending the Do Not
      Call Regis...
(ii)     Introduce administrative difficulties as sales staff would be required to screen individual
                telep...
•   Inability to identify a ‘small business’: The Discussion Paper suggests that small businesses
       should be permitt...
Acxiom does not object to the registration of emergency numbers. However, it does consider a clear
    distinction needs t...
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Acxiom Submission - DNC - 18 September 2008

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Transcript of "Acxiom Submission - DNC - 18 September 2008"

  1. 1. tel : +61 2 9032 3100 Level 9, 151 Clarence St fax : +61 2 9016 4828 Sydney NSW 2000 Australia infoau@acxiom.com GPO Box 2633 Sydney 2001 www.acxiom.com.au Brenton Thomas Spam & Do Not Call Register Section Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy GPO Box 2154 CANBERRA ACT 2601 18 September 2008 Dear Brenton, 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. Executive Summary 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
  2. 2. • 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. Acxiom Submission 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 business. 2
  3. 3. (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 channel. 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: 3
  4. 4. • 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 reasons: • 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 4
  5. 5. 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. Conclusion 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 submission. Yours sincerely Jodie Sangster Chief Privacy & Compliance Officer 5

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