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  1. 1. Click on the submission below to be taken to the relevant document Submission # Submission Name 463 Tanner 26 Tattle 286 Taylor 322 Taylor 436 Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman 478 Telstra 79 Theodore-Smith 113 Theodoropoulos 30 Thomas 162 Thomas 95 Thompson 49 Thomson 349 Threlfo 353 Threlfo 62 Todd 244 Torkington 29 Townsend 329 Transamerica Direct Marketing Australia 196 Tromp
  2. 2. SUBMISSION TO: DO NOT CALL REGISTER DISCUSSION PAPER DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE ARTS SENT BY EMAIL TO Dear Sir / Madam, Before entering into detailed comments I would like to make some general comments. • Marketing via the telephone has much in common with SPAM. Firstly, if the marketing calls are not wanted they degrades the integrity of the telephone service and the “victim” is unable to stop the calls by individual action. • If a large number of marketing calls are received it will force “victims” to screen all calls using an answering machine or similar thus degrading the telephone system for the “victim”. • Marketing calls have a low cost for the initiator but a high cost for the “victim” (similar to SPAM) both in terms of time and disruption. • Telemarketing does not equal service for the recipient. • The current “self regulatory arrangements” have failed. • Marketeers have no consideration for the impact on the “victim”, why else would they call at evening meal times. • The costs for telemarketing will reduce over time, particularly with the automation of calls and the rapid development of VOIP. • I do not want to close the telemarketing industry down, but I do want strict controls that control both Australian and overseas originated calls. Note that I have a personal policy of not purchasing or entering into a contract or answering surveys (real or sales orientated) or making donations when approached by telephone. Because of the detailed nature of the discussion paper and the options I have addressed the issues in the attachment by commenting on the proposals contained in the paper. If you need any additional information please contact me. Yours faithfully Colin Taylor 1
  3. 3. DISCUSSION OF MATTERS RAISED IN THE PAPER PERCEPTIONS P5 para 3 The issue is not the consumers who understand technologies and are receptive to direct marketing. The issue is those who do not want the intrusive marketing efforts and currently have no way of stopping them. P6 para 2 Research calls are problematic because the receiver of the call has no way of verifying that the call is a genuine researcher and to what use the data collected will be put. A “research call” could be a precursor to identity theft. P6 para 4 If consumers welcome direct contact from companies they know and trust then an opt in arrangement for specific companies would meet that need. 2.2 REGULATORY APPROACH P6 para 2 Non-regularory No different to the current situation which is problematic. P6 para 3 Self regulation, voluntary schemes, voluntary codes of practice, do not work as demonstrated by the current situation. The current arrangements are dysfunctional with some organisations being members of ADMA and accepting their Code of Conduct while others are not members and operate outside of the ADMA Code of Conduct. P6 para 4 Self regulation is likely to have problems. The incentives for the industry to take a rigorous approach to self regulation when it is likely to impact on the earnings of members is low. It is more likely that the industry regulators would become apologists rather than enforcers. It needs to be considered that the any “do not call” register will become an extremely valuable database. Marketers are likely to examine ways to legally utilise such a database. For example, although it may be illegal to use telemarketing the database could be used for advertising by post. There is also the possibility of the database being seen as an untouched resource and used by organisations based outside of Australia. P6 footnote 6 I do not and do not want uninvited direct contact from organisations. P7 para 1 I support a mandatory regulatory Code as implemented in the USA. It would be beneficial if the code covered marketing by; telemarketing, facsimile, email and door to door. 2
  4. 4. Accountability for telemarketing by offshore companies to Australians needs to be brought back to the Australian organisation that pays and/or benefits from the marketing. 3 POSSIBLE MODEL P8 Para 1 The current arrangement of self regulation does not work. I have tried to stop calls from telemarketers and have been unable to do so. I have registered on the ADMA “do not call do not contact” list and although there may have been an initial reduction in calls this benefit soon disappeared. (It is interesting that the level of telemarketing calls appears to have diminished while this review is taking place.) 3.2.1 TYPE OF SCHEME P9 para 2 I support a scheme that covers direct marketers contacting by telephone, mobile phone, facsimile, mail, email and door to door. Benefits Single register Avoids misuse of separate registers. Opt in / Opt out There is a third option not discussed in the paper: A transition phase could be in place for say 12 months where members of the public can opt out. During this period an initial database would be established. Once the initial database is established, any expansion of the database could be based on an opt in process. This would provide an opt in regime without the predicted damage to the marketing industry. (Obviously the opt out facility would need to be retained for those who want to change their status.) The opt in approach appears to have worked well for email marketing and there would be advantages in having a common approach for all marketing. One advantage of the opt in approach is that there is incentive for marketeers to solicit people to opt in, which would result in informed people. Whereas there is no natural way of informing people of their opt out rights. At this point in time I believe that there is a tendency to understate the possible disruption from telemarketing. With the advent of VOIP, and resulting very low cost telephone calls, the likelihood of telemarketing expanding to the levels seen in the USA would appear high. 3
  5. 5. The fact that current unsatisfactory arrangements for the regulation of telemarketers has resulted in a high growth essentially unregulated industry that exports most of its jobs to other countries, should not become a reason for undermining the future rights of Australian citizens. No person I know welcomes several marketing phone calls at times which coincide with an evening meal from persons who do not understand the word “NO”. 3.2.2 Registration P12 This section appears to assume that the preferred option will be an opt out arrangement. The section needs to also consider an opt in arrangement (see previous suggestion for implementation). If an opt in option is implemented then this section can be addressed from the opposite viewpoint. (eg “what number can be included in the opt in register”) My preferences as a person who will be subjected to the outcomes of this process are as follows: • First preference is for a transitional stage which uses an opt out process covering telemarketing. • Once the initial database covering all potential recipients and non-recipients is established, the process reverts to an opt in process for any new entrants in the data base. The process needs to cover telemarketing, facsimile, email, mail, and door to door. • For those receiving calls there will be a requirement allowing them to opt out at some future date. • The database needs to allow each category (telemarketing, facsimile, email, mail, and door to door) to be treated independently. The reason why the process needs to cover telemarketing, facsimile, email, mail, and door to door is because if treated separately a do not contact list for one medium could become a contact list for another medium. If a decision is made to use an opt out database, then there should be no restriction on the numbers able to be registered, telephone, facsimile and mobile. Numbers should remain on the list until the responsible individual removes the number from the list. Should it be deemed that a time limit be applied, then the responsible person should be notified of the potential change in status. In the event this is seen as too costly then the default should be that the numbers remain on the list. With current technology it should be simple to automate the addition an applicant to an opt out list and there is no reason why this should not occur within ten working days of receiving a request. The 30 day period appears excessive. 3.2.3 Coverage / types of calls prohibited Telemarketing is normally carried out on behalf of an Australian entity, either by an Australian telemarketing company or by an overseas company. 4
  6. 6. On this basis the majority of of telemarketing activity could be caught by a test covering the parties telemarketing, ordering the telemarketing, financing the telemarketing, and benefiting from the telemarketing. If all of these parties were jointly liable for a breach then it would capture at least one party for almost all telemarketing in Australia. The only party not caught would be those products and services being marketed, and supplied from outside of Australia. In my experience the number meeting this criteria is extremely small. Automated / silent calls / predictive diallers / dual purpose calls Whether a call is automatically dialled is not an issue. The issue is what happens for the receiver of the call. Automatically dialled calls should be treated no differently to manually dialled calls. That is, a do not call list should apply equally. Also, telemarketing should be barred from silent numbers. To do otherwise would result in all calls being automatically dialled. Recorded message calls are an insult to the receiver and a waste of the receivers time. Every one I know hangs-up. So although the report suggests that there may be a good reason for such calls to exist, as a means of communication they are likely to be useless. When recorded messages are combined with VOIP the low cost could result in the equivalent of “spam” over the telephone. There is a need for this ineffective communications method to be outlawed or strictly controlled. Product recalls and similar announcements need a more secure method of communication such as in writing delivered by letter. Automatically dialled calls which result in a dead line to any recipient should considered an offence either under any telemarketing legislation or under the telecommunications legislation and severe penalties should apply. They are a blight on the telephone system and an insult to the receiver. Historically, dead calls always gave the impression that a criminal was casing a residence for a break-in and so create a sense of apprehension in the receiver of such a call. When a member of the general public makes “dead” calls they are considered nuisance calls and are an offence. If the predictive techniques can be used to maximise the number of calls they can also be used to ensure that there are no dead calls; therefore, there should be no threshold applicable. Call centres should be treated exactly the same as a member of the general public making nuisance calls. Liability should be jointly held by parties; the telemarketer, those ordering the telemarketing, those financing the telemarketing, and those benefiting from the telemarketing. Dual purpose calls There is currently a problem with dual purpose calls because the initial part of the call, usually a survey or similar, is used to hook the recipient for the sales pitch which comes towards the end of the call. Under these circumstances the recipient has, in good faith, invested time in the call and is therefore more likely to continue listening 5
  7. 7. to the sales pitch. Essentially this is a form of deception. Dual purpose calls which do not state clearly at the start of the call what the purposes of the call are need to considered a form of deception and therefore an offence. 3.2.4 Exceptions Depending on the attitudes and beliefs of an individual calls from the organisations listed could be as problematic as commercial telemarketers. For example marketing by one religious group to a person having another belief. There is no reason why charities, educational institutions, religious organisations, political parties and candidates should necessarily each be treated as separate classes under any legislation. They could be treated as a separate group with their own opt out (or opt in) provision. Where a person wants to receive calls from one particular organisations they could make a general opt out arrangement and then make arrangements to receive calls from the particular organisation under the category of an ongoing business relationship. There would appears to be three options: • Apply the same prohibition for opt out numbers as any other organisation. • Have a separate opt out data point for the listed organisations. • Provide an exemption. I do not believe that an exemption should be provided because many in our society would object to calls from these organisation and it would seem logical to provide the same facilities of opting out (or in as the case may be). Treatment of existing business relationships needs to be consistent throughout the procedures and where a number is on the opt out list, then documentation of agreement to receive the calls should be a requirement (similar to current email arrangements) before calls to a number on the opt out list can be made. Established business relationships The client needs to be able to choose whether to receive calls as part of a business relationship and documentation of an agreement to receive calls should be required as part of this process (similar to current arrangements with email). No exemption from a documented agreement should be accepted. Charitable organisations, religious organisations and educational institutions, see comments above. Government bodies Important information from Government bodies should be provided in writing to avoid misinterpretation and/or confusion. Market Research There is a fundamental problem with market research carried out over the telephone, one of verification that the caller is who they say. Some of the questions can be highly personal and in times when identity theft is a growing concern there seems to be little reason for providing official sanction to a process that could assist with the theft of a persons identity. I do not believe that any exemptions should be provided. 6
  8. 8. 3.2.5 Administration Any register will be a substantial database that would include some personal information for the majority of Australians. For this reason the database would have significant commercial value. To ensure that it is not misused it is essential that it is administered, controlled and operated by an organisation having no vested interest in its application. So, although construction of the database could be outsourced, its implementation needs to be by a party outside of the telecommunications industry. I have a belief that the number of separate parties involved in an administrative process needs to be minimised so that responsibilities and accountabilities are clear. On this basis administration, control and operation by the ACMA would be a suitable option. 3.2.6 Enforcement The decision of who should enforce legislation is normally a matter held by Government. However, any decision needs to ensure that the arrangement is the simplest possible for the telecommunications industry. It would be preferable for the industry to deal with a minimum number of regulators for normal operations. 3.2.7 Fees The need to regulate the telemarketing industry has arisen because self regulation has not worked. It is logical that the telemarketing industry should pay fees that pay for the maintenance of any register that may be required and any associated regulatory activities. Member of the public would prefer a register using the opt in principle and therefore the costs would be zero. If an opt out register is used this would be an imposition on the public benefiting the telemarketing industry. On this basis any fees should be paid by the telemarketing industry. Fees need to cover the costs for he database, its administration and operation plus costs associated with any associated regulatory activity. 3.2.8 General issues It would improve the credibility of the telemarketing industry and its regulation if they were required to advise the following information at the start of their call. • Real name of person calling • Their company its location and a telemarketing registration number. • If they are calling on behalf of another company and the name of that company • The reason for the call and subject matter. • A telephone number for return calls. Other • Calls limited to between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Saturday no calls Sunday or public holidays. • Callers are not allowed to request personal information. • A requirement for zero “dead” calls. • The use of recorded messages to be banned. 7
  9. 9. Offences Financial penalties and possible deregistration as a user of the database to apply for breaches of any Legislation or Code of Conduct. 8
  10. 10. th 28 November, 2005 Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts GPO Box 2154 CANBERRA ACT 2601 Do Not Call Register Discussion Paper Submissions To Whom It May Concern, I wish to record my request, for a Do Not Call / Do Not Contact register to be established by DTICA. I further request the register to allow both land line and mobile telephone units, to be protected from unwanted, intrusive tele-marketing calls being made from both overseas origin and also from within Australia. Reasons I pay a fee to have the telephone facility allocated to me, available for my personal use. I do this to allow me to use the device as and when it suits me!! I object in the strongest manner possible, to the plethora of unwanted telephone calls that we receive on a daily basis, particularly those that originate from India and the Philippines. If I wish to contact organisations concerning a possible sales enquiry, for any items of interest I may have, I am quite capable of conducting internet searches to locate suitable suppliers. Again, I pay a fee to have cable broadband internet access, to do this simple task. I consider my privacy is being violated by these scum organisations, and consider it is my constitutional right, to have the “telemarketing” industry, both domestic and international, barred from wanton access to my telephone services. Yours truly, Leslie John Taylor
  11. 11. 1 December 2005 Ms Emily Cripps Do Not Call Register Discussion Paper Submissions Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts GPO Box 2154 CANBERRA ACT 2601 Dear Ms Cripps, Thank you for giving the TIO the opportunity to comment on the proposal for a ‘do not call’ register for Australia. I have only provided responses to those issues that are of particular relevance to the TIO. Type of Scheme 1.1 Do you support the establishment of a do not call register? I support the establishment of a do not call register 1.2 Why do you support the establishment of a do not call register? As demonstrated by the table below, the number of complaints that the TIO received regarding telemarketing has increased significantly over the last year. 1/10/04- 1/1/05- 1/4/05- 1/7/05- 31/12/04 31/3/05 30/6/05 30/9/05 Landline (CSP Telemarketing)* 93 187 607 748 Landline (unwelcome calls)# 76 94 193 155 Out of jurisdiction (Telemarketing- n/a)^ 43 69 102 130 Out of jurisdiction (Telemarketing- 130 202 313 334 landline)^ * Complaint where a telecommunications company has continued telemarketing a complainant who has asked it to stop calling. # Complaint about a Supplier not following correct procedure for dealing with unwelcome calls (menacing, offensive or harassing). Please note, the TIO treats repeated telemarketing calls as unwelcome calls. ^ Complaint about telemarketing - eg. complainant has been contacted by charity or other organisation. The TIO has received complaints from consumers who claim that despite advising certain companies that they do not wish to be contacted again, they continue to be called by those same companies.
  12. 12. While the TIO commends those companies that have established their own ‘do not call’ lists, such individual initiatives have had little effect on the number of complaints being received. This complaint data, of course, relates mostly to the telecommunications industry, while telemarketing is increasingly being used as a method of direct marketing in a number of industries. The rapid growth in ‘outbound’ call centres is evidence of this phenomenon. 1.3 Could a self-regulatory scheme provide a suitable solution? In my opinion a self-regulatory scheme is unlikely to provide either an efficient or effective solution. Recent experience in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as in Australia, suggests that problems of compliance and enforcement— the achilles heel of purely self-regulatory schemes— is very much to the fore. In addition, it is difficult to mandate membership of a self-regulatory scheme, the more so where the problem to be addressed involves a number of industry sectors. So far as issues of efficiency are concerned, the present mosaic of regulatory approaches in Australia itself imposes significant compliance costs for the telemarketing industry. Opt in/ Opt out 3.1 Should individuals and small businesses be able to ‘opt in’ to receive telemarketing calls? 3.2 Should individuals and small businesses be able to ‘opt out’ if they wish not to receive telemarketing calls? In my opinion, a do not call register should work on an ‘opt out’ basis, with the exception of silent line customers. An opt out approach provides a reasonable balance between the privacy of individuals, the interests of those consumers who have no objection to telemarketing and the reasonable interests of legitimate businesses and organisations ‘to access the community for commercial and non commercial reasons.’ The quoted words form section 2.1 of the Discussion Paper should not obscure the fact that unlike most forms of mass marketing— billboards, newspapers, magazines, radio, television— telemarketing is particularly intrusive. In short, telemarketing does not involve ‘ accessing the community’ but is targeted at the individual. So far as silent line customers are concerned, it would be preferable for an ‘opt-in’ rule to apply, irrespective of the fact that many telemarketers use predictive diallers rather than directories of names. Individuals/ Others 4.1 Who should be eligible to register numbers on a do not call register? On balance I believe that both small business and residential customers should be eligible to register numbers on the do not call register. 4.2 Should mobile numbers be included on a register? I support the inclusion of mobile numbers on the register. While the current complaint numbers are relatively small, there is the potential for mobile telemarketing to increase significantly if a do not call register is 2
  13. 13. established for landline services only. Apart from this likelihood, Australia is rapidly moving to a position where mobile services will dominate the voice market. 4.3 Should there be a limit of how many numbers can be registered overall? If the register is limited to small business and residential customers, there does not seem to be a need to impose any further limitations. 4.4 Should there be a time limit set on the period a number remain registered? A number should remain on the register for as long as that number is connected in the name of the customer by whom it was registered. 4.5 Should individuals be able to register numbers on behalf of others? I support allowing individuals to register numbers of behalf of others, particularly for customers with special needs. As there appears to be nothing to gain by registering another person’s number, it seems that there is little scope for such a provision to be abused. Offshore initiated calls 5.1 Should Australia attempt to regulate offshore telemarketers? I strongly support the regulation of any telemarketing that has an Australian link, based on the definition of Australian link in the Spam Act. This is of particular importance given the recent proliferation of offshore telemarketing centres for Australian based companies. If the register did not extend to offshore telemarketers, companies that wished to evade the register could do so by arranging offshore telemarketing. Automated/ Silent calls/ predicative diallers/ Dual purpose calls 6.1 Should automated calls be prohibited to numbers on a do not call register? 6.2 Should predictive dialling calls be prohibited to numbers on a do not call register? 6.3 Should recorded message calls, providing information only, be prohibited to numbers on a do not ca register? 6.4 should calls which has a dual purpose, that it, to provide information or test customer satisfaction, for example, as well as offer goods for sale, be prohibited to numbers on a do not call register? In my opinion, all of the above types of telemarketing should be prohibited to numbers on a do not call register. If someone does not wish to receive telemarketing calls, they are unlikely to make an exception for any particular type of telemarketing call. In fact, some of the telemarketing types listed above are considered to be particularly egregious by consumers. To highlight this point, the TIO often receives complaints from silent line customers who are angry that they have been called by a predicative dialler. The TIO also received numerous complaints from silent line customers who received a recorded election message prior to the last federal election. Failure to capture all types of telemarketing will inevitably lead to the adoption of methods to circumvent the register. The prohibition on telemarketing registered numbers must be broad and inclusive, so that all types of current and future telemarketing practices are encompassed. 3
  14. 14. Exemptions While my preference would be for the prohibitions to apply to all forms of telemarketing, I accept that there may be good reason for exempting certain types of organisations, such as charities and educational institutions. I do not believe that the exemption should extend to political parties, political candidates or religious institutions. As noted in the discussion paper, there are other means by which such organisations can disseminate information, and such calls can be considered as particularly offensive, depending on peoples’ views/ beliefs. The exemption should not extend to established business relationships. As previously noted, the TIO is receiving a growing number of complaints from consumers being telemarketed by telecommunications companies— in some cases their own company. Companies have alternative ways to communicate marketing information to their own customers. Of course such a prohibition would not prevent a company calling its customers for other non-marketing related purposes. Administration 8.1 Should the Australian Communications and Media Authority directly administer a do not call register? As the issue the subject of debate is telemarketing, on balance a do not call register should be administered and enforced by ACMA rather than, say, the ACCC. I do not have any specific views as to whether ACMA should directly control or contract out the administration of the register. Fees and funding 9.1 Should the telemarketing industry solely fund a do not call register? The cost of administering the register should be borne by fees levied on telemarketers accessing the register. There should not be a fee of any cost to a consumer opting out of the scheme. Please contact me if you have any questions. Yours sincerely JOHN PINNOCK OMBUDSMAN 4
  15. 15. We would definitely register, on a do not call register. These calls are nothing but a nuisance. They have taken away the feeling that your home is your castle because of their disruption of your life, especially as they tend to call either when you are preparing dinner at night, or when you are trying to eat it.
  16. 16. My entire family totally agree with the "do not call list". These telemarketing phone calls are such a nuisance. We receive up to four calls per day, and if we do not answer they continue calling throughout the entire day and well into the evening. We have told them over and over again to stop annoying us but they do not listen, they continue to talk, leaving us with the only option, to hang up. It is the overseas calls that I am referring to not the local, Australia ones. Please help people like us who have more important things to do with our private time, in our private home and give us our right not to be constantly harassed or harassed at all.
  17. 17. Submission for a 'Do Not Call' Register Because of my actions in 2005, I was under the impression my contact number had already been placed on a 'Do Not Call' register. However, only businesses that had registered to comply with my wishes would know about it within a month. All others would apparently have free reign to continue to repeatedly harass me after being told that I cannot afford their services. Some still do. 2.1 Perceptions Many people, especially myself, are worried that the selling of consumers' details between business operators will lead to more unsolicited telephone calls and junk mail when those consumers only wanted to deal with approved businesses. This selling of information should be illegal unless consumers sign a form allowing this to happen. 3.2.1 Type of Scheme 3.2.1 1.1 I do support the establishment of a Do Not Call Register. 3.2.1 1.2 I support it because ... • Many people on Disability Pensions cannot afford to support unrelated businesses, even charities that ring them. • Many live in small places that have no room for most of the unwanted goods being eMarketed by most businesses. • We are all being swamped by advertising in newspapers, and on radio, television and the Internet. • eMarketers are wasting their time and money by ringing thousands of people who do not want their time wasted, running back and forth to the telephone, telling a group of several persistent eMarketers repeatedly not to ring. • Charities should not expect everyone to be able to sell raffle tickets if there is no car or employment available to allow this. • The health alone of some people on Disability Pensions does not always allow people to assist anyway. 3.2.1 1.3 Not applicable here. 3.2.1 1.4 Selfregulatory systems are not 100% satisfactory as there are always businesses that do not comply with them for one reason or another. • 'Do Not Call' is plain English and means Do Not Call. A consumer's preference would not only be given, but would also tell businesses not to call. • I can see now that I am only on the direct marketing list, but while some unsolicited businesses continue to contact me directly after being refused before, then selfregulation
  18. 18. is certainly not working as well as it should be. • However many different types of marketing there are, all must be covered by the wishes of consumers not to be contacted. • Every business that calls and is unwanted must be told not to in the future unless agreed to by the consumer at a later date. • The method of communication is totally irrelevant. If a consumer's name is on a particular Do Not Call list, then no form of communication must take place until that list has been updated with the consumer's consent. The Spam Act is actually having less of an effect on unwanted spam in my Eudora program than earlier this year. There is a continual stream of new spam with different From: addresses, more variety and an increasing difficulty in filtering out these unwanted emails. Unsubscribing to deadend return addresses is useless and only indicates to me that the senders are not only hiding behind technology, but also refuse to be identified or comply with the wishes of the recipient or any Government Act to control their offensive behaviour. 3.2.1 2.1 Facsimiles are no different from any other form of communication. They must not be used if a consumer has indicated that it is not to be. Many years ago, I heard one person, who wasn't pleased when he arrived at work one morning, say he found a large pile of fax paper on the floor due to heavy marketing activity throughout the night. A 'Do Not Call' register must show what forms of 'Do Not Call' apply to • individual names • telephone numbers • postal addresses • residential addresses • email addresses • and facsimile addresses. 3.2.1 3.1 All consumers private, small business or commercial and industrial must be able to 'optin' to receive telemarketing calls if they wish to. 3.2.1 3.2 All consumers, private small business or commercial and industrial must be able to 'optout' of receiving telemarketing calls if they wish to. Both the 'optin' and 'optout' approaches must be included in all 'Do Not Call' lists and agreements between consumers and businesses. An 'optin'
  19. 19. approach should be more efficient for businesses as it would provide them with a reduced and more efficient target of people who have agreed to receive telemarketing calls. Time and money wasted on calling thousands of consumers who do not want to be contacted would be saved. Any consumer who agrees to be contacted should expect more calls as more relevant businesses and business products would be available to them. Those of less irrelevance should be filtered out, creating a winwin situation. The Spam Act may have adopted an 'optin' approach, but many foreign businesses aren't taking any notice of it. They are sending more unsolicited commercial electronic messages and in greater numbers and more variety to my email address than the first half of 2005. Tracking the senders has had some results in preventing more emails from particular senders, but others have led to deadend return addresses and more filtering, which is having less and less of an effect as time goes by. All forms of telemarketing and spam must be agreed to internationally. Australia's laws are a waste of time while spammers in the United States of America, Germany, India and Africa (that I know of) are still defying them. A reasonable compromise is for consumers to opt out of telemarketing as unsolicited businesses call them. From personal telephone experiences, it has usually been the same several persistent businesses that repeatedly invade my privacy after being told that I cannot afford their services. I have not yet directly told any business that I do not want them to call again obviously my mistake. I believe that businesses in the United Kingdom and United States of America may not understand the views of consumers such as that stated in the fourth paragraph prior to this one. 3.2.2 Registration The possible approach given by DCITA in this rule is very specific and appears to be flawless. It is exactly what I am asking for. 3.2.2 4.1 All consumers must be able to opt out of receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls using any form of communication by any senders. 3.2.2 4.2 All forms of communication must be included in any agreement. That includes mobile numbers. 3.2.2 4.3 Initially, I had thought that no limit on numbers must exist because 'Do Not Call' means DO NOT CALL unless stated otherwise in particular circumstances by consumers. However, DCITA's comments after sections 3.2.2 4.1 to 4.5 are very reasonable, given the fact that consumers may have moved or passed away within five years. Reregistering
  20. 20. every five years is then recommended and should be tolerated by all consumers. 3.2.2 4.4 Time limits should only be set by consumers. 3.2.2 4.5 As children must rely on their parents and guardians when dealing with registered businesses, consent must be obtained to act on their behalf. In fact, any adult consumer must be able to ask anyone else to act on their behalf for whatever reason. 3.2.3 Coverage/ Types of Prohibited Calls 3.2.3 5.1 What good is protecting Australian citizens from unsolicited and unwanted calls by Australians when more come from around the world? These laws must be adhered to by all countries, just as much as their citizens' requests should be respected by all Australians. Australia already deals with residents of other countries or consults with their governments when Australia's laws are broken in most aspects of social and business activities. Why not telemarketing? While some countries do not have their own telemarketing laws, that does not mean they should not respect ours. If governments of many countries can pass laws without fully consulting its residents, they can pass those relating to telemarketing. Residents and small businesses are under attack from electronic terrorists a view held by people who not only hate unwanted calls, but also still have to suffer them regardless of how many others are welcomed. The people are entitled to their preferred choices and businesses are being offered more efficient opportunities to choose whom to call. Create one or more (for different purposes) national Do Not Call lists, force businesses to adhere to them by only calling numbers not on them. They will be using their time and money more efficiently by eliminating thousands of unwanted calls every week. That amounts to hundreds of dollars every week or thousands every year. It should be a simple procedure requiring a central database, with all numbers of unwanted calls being submitted to a database officer every week or month. This database must be accessible to all businesses around the world. Security would then be strictly enforced to protect residents of those numbers from attacks of any nature. Any country that is a member of the Commonwealth must also comply with the laws of other countries. Not to do so appears to result, at worst, in sanctions by governments. They already suffer these by the choices that residents have not to purchase goods for any reason. The same choice must be allowed for
  21. 21. telemarketing. If residents do not purchase certain goods, why should they be subjected to unwanted calls in an effort to change their minds? This is a waste of time for residents and businesses and a waste of businesses' money. Could this be one of many reasons why some businesses are unviable? 3.2.3 6.1 Regardless of who or what operates a telephone, unsolicited and unwanted calls must NOT be made to people who do not wish to be called. Why prohibit one operator because he or she has a brain and then allow another because it hasn't? When the result for a resident does not change, the logic behind it is senseless just like computers! The message is perfectly clear DO NOT CALL under any circumstances, unless that request is changed by a resident. 3.2.3 6.2 I can only imagine what Predictive Diallers are, but that does not matter the message remains the same. 3.2.3 6.3 Unless business has been initiated by customers who have agreed to be called by telephone, written to or emailed, the message still remains the same. 3.2.3 6.4 Read my last three opinions, then include this rule. Possible Approach: Having found what Predictive Diallers are, people must also not abuse the rights of people with silent numbers with unsolicited and unwanted calls. Television, radio, newspapers, Web sites, shop fronts, buses, taxis and word of mouth are more than enough to get business messages across. If people are usually confined to their own homes or institutions and are unaware of purchasing opportunities, it is their right to use any means to obtain what they need or want. Homes without business activities are private residences. Give people the privacy they desire in their own homes! When they need or want to do business, they will when they are ready. 3.2.4 Exemptions Possible Approach: • for individuals or companies, this is exactly what my opinion is, • charities should not waste their time and money, donated by anyone, ringing people who have told them not to ring or have been told that no money is available to help them, • all others may be exempted. 3.2.4 7.1 Exemptions may be permitted.
  22. 22. 3.2.4 7.2 If a customer, who has contacted a business, has agreed to be contacted by that business, that customer's wishes have been respected. Both parties benefit greatly. 3.2.4 7.2 Obviously, there are times when any business must obtain important information without the need to sell something the customer does not need, want, or have the money or room for. At other times, genuine benefits that individuals or companies believe customers may need to improve basic living standards should be offered. Only customers know whether or not they can afford them. Despite needs, if there is no money for the basics, there can be no business, unless by agreement through other means. 3.2.4 7.3 Exemptions should include • business/customer agreements (by any form of communication), • charities seeking special requests for state disasters (on a onceonly basis), • educational institutions offering advanced education to existing degrees, diplomas etc., • government bodies updating their records or offering related services to existing entitlements, • registered political parties and candidates seeking public opinions on pressing community matters (not election preferences), • market researchers on social research (not more than once a month). 3.2.4 7.4 Exemptions should not include • the selling of customer details to other businesses and individuals, who then call those customers without their permissions, • any business, charity, religion, political party or candidate, individual whoever or whatever is selling products, unwanted memberships, coercing customers of other businesses to reluctantly defect, attempting to sway religious beliefs, and conjuring up visible house maintenance problems. 3.2.4 7.5 Existing business relationships must be exempted if that is the wish of the customer. Why would a customer stifle his or her relationship with a business if more information about it may be of benefit at a later date? Preference for a oneoff business encounter must be entirely a customer's decision. 3.2.4 7.6 Customer preferences must be limited to individual business locations, not from their headquarters down as many businesses deal in products unrelated to the needs or wants of those customers. Also, departments within separate locations should not allow customer names to be passed freely throughout their section without permission. Businesses would do very well not to do anything. which
  23. 23. causes customers to abandon them for others with better services and privacy policies. 3.2.4 7.7 Charities are no different to any other business they seek money, which many people do not have, cannot get immediately, will not have in the future or do not want to donate while very little of it sometimes does not reach intended recipients, but is spent on high administration costs. Why spend money employing people to benefit communities if those communities do not receive as much assistance as they should to become independent? 3.2.4 7.8 Religious organisations must not expect money from people who do not want to have anything to do with them. People have the freedom to move around or be informed by family, relatives and friends of religious activities through all forms of media. 3.2.4 7.9 Educational institutions must be exempted, but not those from other countries when there is no way that most people simply do not have opportunities to drop everything and commence foreign education. If this is what people want as many do, they may be inspired through advertisements in institutions or the media. I don't believe that one phone call will change their lives forever unless steps have been taken to cause that change. 3.2.4 7.10 Governments are there to provide communities with important information, despite much of it not being relevant to many individuals. However, almost everyone would probably know of someone else who can benefit from unsolicited and unwanted telephone calls. Besides, how many of these calls do governments make and are rejected outright by telephone subscribers? Personally, I can't remember any, but may have had some throughout any one year. 3.2.4 7.11 The same goes for political parties and candidates. All the material I have received has come through my letter and post boxes or newspapers, and nothing is obtained on the Internet or email without my consent. This is commendable and an excellent example for businesses to follow. Radio and TV are rarely used nowadays. 3.2.4 7.12 Market researchers only ring me because I have agreed to be interviewed at home. As long as I am there for most of the time, I may as well be bothered for the benefit of the community as a whole. I am part of that community and may reap many of the benefits of social research later on. Possible Exemptions:
  24. 24. As DCITA's Do Not Call Discussion Paper is now echoing what my views are as stated here, they are definitely envisaging the right outcome. Recognition of the rights of consumers and unrelated telephone subscribers are being recognised in this document. They must now be put into practice by businesses and individuals. If businesses use customer details to contact their former clients (one year later, for example) it should probably be limited to a request for continued support regarding a product or service that was agreed to at the time of purchase. Regarding religious organisations, funds for what? Also, moral guidance has many interpretations in a mixed community. Educational institutions and government bodies may need more discussion, given the variety of peoples' views and needs in any community. Political parties and candidates must work on a onetoone basis, as they are capable of inflicting as much damage or benefit on communities as religious organisations. If it takes their own Do Not Call lists to avoid unsolicited and unwanted calls, then so be it. Market researchers must (and appear to) observe customer rights very well, which is also commendable. Only once can I remember being fooled by a "market researcher", and was expected to have those details contribute towards buying a product. This 'crime' was committed by a computer with no human brain, compassion or remorse for making me feel absolutely disgusted. I do not agree with many aspects of life in the United States of America. If aspects of business are so important to businesses, at the top of the list should be not harassing their customers if no permission has been given by those customers to do so. Not only will businesses not initiate more business, but they will also drive customers away. How viable is that? No amount of benefit to the community as a whole will ever justify a nuisance factor to override the express wishes of privacy in the homes of people who do not want unsolicited and unwanted business there. 9.00pm is really very late in any evening for families. Unless steps have been taken by parents, relatives and guardians to quieten their telephones or otherwise agree to accept calls later than 7.00pm or so, telemarketers should not persist with unsolicited and unwanted calls. As a great many people on afternoon or night shifts sleep during the day or early evening, silencing the ringers of or removing the telephones altogether may be two options open to subscribers. 3.2.5 Administration Possible Approach: Regardless of who or what company controls telemarketing, there must be at least one international database or at least one national database for each country that has relevant laws. Personally, I believe that
  25. 25. administration would be more efficient and communicative for the Australian Communications and Media Authority to not only maintain those databases, but also be responsible for enforcement of the legislation relating to a Do Not Call Register. 3.2.5 8.1 The Australian Communications and Media Authority should directly administer a Do Not Call Register for greater efficiency of internal communications. 3.2.5 8.2 If a tender is put out, individuals or companies should already have the best resources at the time and have many years of experience. Let them not reveal mistakes of the past from other illprepared individuals or companies. 3.2.5 8.3 Administrators should have the power to authorise investigations into the practices of dubious telemarketers and their equipment. The level of investigation and methods unavailable to many government agencies may be sanctioned by very high levels of the judicial system. This may be initiated by how far telemarketers will go to break a community's privacy laws and rights. What will it take for Australian citizens to be allowed to live in peace? When they have sold or given away all their communications technology? That is the next step up from those I do not presently have a silent telephone number and email address if the latter is possible, apart from a registered firewall paid for by me at great cost. It is often the consumer who has to pay for the damage done by offensive operators of technology. The time to make these operators pay instead is long overdue. Their rights to operate must not continue to be at all costs to everyone else as there are still millions of consumers willing to accept their calls. Leave the ones who don't alone. 3.2.5 8.4 Specific tasks must include surveillance, investigation and collection of information to properly administer the Register's requirements. As time progresses, amendments to the Register can be made to improve and maintain the associations between businesses and consumers. 3.2.5 8.5 Guidance should begin with education using the Do Not Call Register, progressing to penalties, then confiscation of equipment and sacrifice of business names and rights to return, being at the top end, according to the lack of knowledge and offence. If the ACMA believes that more efficiency can be gained through tendering, leaving them to monitor other operations as well, I still believe that the monitoring of telemarketing would be best from within the same
  26. 26. building as the ACMA for maximum communication between the two. This is one option, while employing a trainer experienced in relevant matters is another. Again, DCITA's Do Not Call Discussion Paper is echoing my opinions. Not only that, its recommendations are way ahead of mine and should be instigated after the community or public consultation period. However, fees must be reasonable for the businesses least able to afford them to allow unlimited access. • In fact, as consumers are going to benefit more than businesses, a better option would appear to be to fund this operation through the GST, making telemarketing compliance a free service and affordable for everyone (not including the methods used to access customers' wishes.) As the problem is directly related to the potential to purchase goods and services, it is logical to fund the prevention of them as well, as dictated by the choices of the people targeted by telemarketers. 3.2.6 Enforcement The ACMA is not a single operation unit and would need to be trained more in the protection of consumers in telemarketing. The Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner sounds more like an appropriate position, but this appears to involve more work. Hopefully, more staff can be employed to deal with that. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission does not appear to be doing its job to the satisfaction of everyone as the promotion of competition is having a detrimental effect on many consumers and not all telemarketers are trading fairly or being penalised for doing so. Whoever or whatever agency or organisation accepts the undertaking of this role, it is correctly described in this section of the Do Not Call Discussion Paper. All lists complied by any individual or business must be submitted to a national (or international) database to be shared by everyone for complete compliance. Inadvertent calls must be backed up by explanations to consumers that outdated lists will immediately be amended, and anything else that the Do Not Call Discussion Paper recommends. Any one individual or business must not make the same mistake again for many months without investigation by authorities into why it is occurring. 3.2.7 Fees and Funding 3.2.7 9.1 Funding must not come from any one source as all sections of the community will benefit from telemarketing and the prevention of it. 3.2.7 9.2 Telemarketers may contribute to a Do Not Call Register, but I believe that access by everyone should be free. 3.2.7 9.3 For the amount of peace that individuals and small businesses would gain from a Register, a
  27. 27. small fee would be insignificant by comparison. It would also offset running costs and reduce the cost of providing the service through GST or other taxes. 3.2.7 9.4 The yearly cost of operating a Register may be divided by the number of families in Australia, which would not be a lot of money even for people living on and below the poverty line. Without working it out, I imagine that would only be several dollars a year for each household with a family, individual or more who are sharing accommodation. The benefits will greatly outweigh the costs for consumers. Access to a Register must not be limited to certain area codes. If telemarketers want to call anyone, anywhere in the world, they must have access to the wishes of subscribers. Contrary to other situations where the more a service is used, the more it should cost, telemarketers should be rewarded for accessing the Do Not Call Register more often. This would help them to comply with the wishes of the community by not only having their contributing costs reduced with each check, but almost, if possible, eliminated. Of course, consumers should not have to pay to defend themselves, but in how many other places does this occur? I am able to provide several occurrences from computer companies to the judicial system where we are prevented from avoiding personal costs and hardship. Telemarketing is no different, but nobody should still have to pay for what individuals and companies do to residents in the privacy of their own homes. 3.2.7 10.1 Minimum contact national standards should include company identification, the location of the caller, types of products to be advertised and the times that companies would be calling. 3.2.7 10.2 Individuals and companies must state the above information at the beginning of each call and not waste time with idle chatter about the health of consumers who do not want to be called, the weather and whatever beforehand, confusing them about who is calling, why they are calling and how much this call is going to set them back. This can take anything up to one minute to determine, given the unnecessarily invasive and unrelated tactics of some telemarketers. 3.2.7 10.3 Telemarketers should not use information such as peoples' names, email, home and small business addresses, or telephone and fax numbers they have purchased or been given without consumers’ permissions, or stolen through a violation of consumer rights. If consumers sign forms, giving businesses the rights to give away their details, only then should that be allowed to happen. 4 Appendices
  28. 28. 4.1 Appendix A Glossary of Terms/Acronyms 4.1.1 Glossary The term "silent calls" has a different meaning to what I imagined. In the case of those mentioned in the Do Not Call Discussion Paper, that explains the very bothersome two or three rings occasionally heard on my telephone. They are just as much unwanted as if there was a telemarketer available. This practice must also cease as it carries the same meaning, just the same as if murder and attempted murder charges are warranted to a judicial system. Quite often, it is only for one reason or another that one charge does not progress into the other. 4.3 Appendix C Summary of the Australian context 4.3.1 Voluntary codes The Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs (MCCA) that released a Model Code in 1997 was partly wrong by saying that it "would benefit customers and business alike by enhancing the potential for consumers to benefit from direct marketing, improving the market for reputable business and preventing what it labelled as ‘unreasonably intrusive’ sales practices." The businesses that have invaded my privacy in the past haven't taken any notice of the above comment. I can only imagine that they are not members of any business organisation as some have not identified themselves, operated in a dualcall way, ignored my efforts to encourage them to hang up and called a few times in less than one month or so I believe, because how could I tell if they did not identify themselves? 4.3.2 Specific Commonwealth legislation There should be no such thing as 'impracticable to seek consent' as long as contacts are being made. Consent can and MUST be sought during telemarketing calls to update the national (or international) Registers. These are great timesavers as opposed to new contacts specifically for permission preferably signed on paper.
  29. 29. Charities should NOT be exempt from the ACMA's eMarketing code, but should comply with its provisions for several reasons - - Many people on Disability Pensions cannot afford to support unrelated businesses, even several charities that ring them. - Many live in small places that have no room for most of the unwanted goods being eMarketed by most businesses. - We are all being swamped by advertising in newspapers, and on radio, television and the Internet. - eMarketers are wasting their time and money by ringing thousands of people who do not want their time wasted, running back and forth to the telephone, telling a group of several persistent eMarketers repeatedly not to ring. - Charities should not expect everyone to be able to sell raffle tickets if there is no car or employment available to allow this. - The health alone of some people on Disability Pensions does not always allow people to assist anyway. eMarketers could use their time more efficiently if all were required to register with the ACMA before commencing business and observe notes next to names on a 'no-contact' list. All should be required to adhere to a code that forbids them from doing otherwise. In my case - - I am no longer a material person and do not want to pay for anything over the telephone, which hasn't already been agreed to by me in person - and then they must have my signature, wherever possible. - If I am in contact with a business or organisation that I am connected with, only then might I agree to create more bills for myself, on top of the ones I cannot afford, excluding the ones I still cannot afford to maintain, such as for the car, some hi-fi equipment - or food and heating that I have to give up sometimes because, with only $227.05 a week - or about half of the poverty line - I simply do not get enough money to pay for all the things I need immediately. I simply have
  30. 30. to go without - often. - Most businesses and organisations do not continue when I tell them that I cannot afford their services, but mainland or overseas computers selling mobile phones still have in the past and have mostly been a very persistent pain in the neck. This is the second time they have gone quiet since they began in recent years, but their existence has created paranoia to the point where I have had to have Calling Number Display switched on to assist with a new cordless phone and answering machine. If the authorities still cannot control all unwanted phone calls, then it is obviously up to me to beat them. - The fact is, I do not want to keep chopping and changing my telephone company every time another one rings up and expects me to do so. I do not want to be an innocent victim in their telephone wars. - I do not want to buy Pay-TV that costs a small fortune while I am on a Disability Pension - and I do not expect them to keep ringing up when I keep telling them not to. Don't they ever communicate between each other in their own departments? - I expect charities to make a note when I keep telling them that I cannot afford to buy their raffles tickets because I have some very heavy bills to pay for and not enough money for those. Neither do I have a job with work mates I can con into buying raffle tickets they also may not want to buy. I have always had trouble convincing others to buy them. Some agreed, nearly all didn't - and I still can't afford to fix my car. - Occasional Sunday drives by charities are tolerable, but not wasting time answering the phone, even for only a few times a week. The difference is being expected to buy a book of raffle tickets I have had trouble selling in the past, whereas a gold coin on Sundays is dealt with - over and done with. The same goes for drives on Fridays if I am out shopping. - Broadband eMarketers are also a problem while they keep ringing me up and I keep telling them that I can not afford to pay such high Internet costs, especially as this computer is an absolute wreck. At only 300MHz in speed, it couldn't possibly handle Broadband's requirements anyway. I desperately need a new computer, but where is the money going to come from when I need to get my car back on
  31. 31. the road as well? The reason I choose to be at home is the need for privacy - away from the cut-throat world of businesses engaged in wars over survival of the fittest in profiteering at all costs - including relieving poverty-stricken people of every cent they are given or earn. Lucky me, there are people even worse off. When I am in a money spending mood, I do not remain at home. I will go out at any time of the day or evening if a shop is open, usually for extra food or entertainment. When I need to buy something, I will take my wallet out of the house and empty it at the nearest and most cost-efficient business I can find and get to - on a bicycle or bus - whenever and if ever the latter turns up. Quite often in the recent past, it hasn't, leaving me waiting for the next one, sometimes for up to half an hour later. Why should I buy a mobile phone from a business on the mainland or overseas when there are relevant shops on several corners in Hobart? Do businesses think Tasmania is a backwater with nothing more than a milk bar, pub, service station and post office in the desert? I know many residents love to receive junk mail from anywhere, but there are many who don't. I am one of those people and have a right to privacy in my own home. Some day in the future, I expect to get it - and only bring goods in after I choose to go shopping where businesses are located. Newspaper, radio, television and Internet advertising is much more than I need to find out about goods on offer. This home is a private residence - I expect privacy when I am alone in it. I need that to get away from the hectic lifestyle of being repeatedly harassed by unwanted and irrelevant businesses for every bit of money I have - or don't. If businesses don't waste my time with unwanted phone calls, I may get around to reading the recently released code. I didn't find it on the ACMA's Website on the Monday morning after the newspaper said it had been released. If too much trouble continues, I may just have to take the next step and apply to have my phone number silenced. I certainly don't want a new one That shouldn't be a problem for all of my friends and businesses who already have it. At least, it might stop unwanted businesses from repeatedly harassing me, when I keep telling them not to.
  32. 32. It is a matter of urgency that this register be established. These calls can only be seen as an invasion of privacy. We support all moves for the Register to be enacted as soon as possible.
  33. 33. We must have a Do Not Call Register as soon as possible. People homes are private and constant intrusions are not acceptable.
  34. 34. These calls are an imposition on householders. Citizens have telephones connected for the purposes of conducting their lives in an efficient and acceptable manner - not for the convenience of intrusive marketing calls, where an instant decision is required. A do not call register would be most welcome. However, it would need to be mandatory for ALL telemarketers and so-called conductors of surveys, calls originating in Australia and in other parts of the world. Requests for non-contact placed with the Australian Direct Marketing Association are observed only by members of that Association, and many telemarketers etc. are not members. It is difficult to remain polite to these callers who disrupt people's lives. I don't even try!
  35. 35. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN This website was broadcast as a medium for members of the public to lodge their concerns and opinions regarding discussion for legislation to provide a "do not call" register for which members of the public who do not wish unsolicited marketing calls to be made to their home telephones. First of all I would like to say that the website is not 'user friendly' and it is difficult to discover how the average person is able to register comments or submission. I trust that this email will find its way to the correct person or persons who are taking note of public comment or submissions. As a private telephone user I do not wish to have unsolicited marketing calls made to my home telephone. I understand that some businesses are using this medium in order to market their goods. There are many other ways in which they can do this, letter drop advertising, newspaper advertising, advertising on radio or television. I do not wish my private home telephone, which is paid for and maintained by me for those of my family and friends to use, or for use by such services such as doctors, dentists, accountants etc. to whom I wish to provide my home number. I do not wish to receive telephone calls from telemarketing companies at a time of their choosing, which is usually at a time inconvenient to me.
  36. 36. 29 November 2005 Senator Helen Coonan Do Not Call Register Discussion Paper Submissions Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts GPO Box 2154 CANBERRA ACT 2601 To the Office of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, DISCUSSION PAPER REGARDING THE INTRODUCTION OF A DO NOT CALL REGISTER: POSSIBLE AUSTRALIAN MODEL Transamerica Direct Marketing Australia Pty Ltd (Transamerica) agrees with the spirit of the discussion paper regarding the Introduction of a Do Not Call Register: Possible Australian Model (“The Paper”) in so far as it is designed to facilitate discussion regarding the possible establishment of a national Do Not Call (“DNC”) register for Australia, in attempt to address intrusive telemarketing practices and related consumer complaints. Further, Transamerica supports the submission made by the Australia Direct Marketing Association (“ADMA”), on behalf of its members. Transamerica is grateful for the opportunity to provide comments from the perspective of an Australian Financial Service Licensee who acts on behalf of major financial institutions in developing and executing direct marketing (including telemarketing) programs for their customers, for consideration by the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. Transamerica As part of the global AEGON Group of companies, Aegon Direct Marketing Services (ADMS) is one of the largest providers of direct response insurance marketing and related services to financial institutions, member based organisations and affinity groups in the world. Transamerica is the Australian and Asia Pacific arm of ADMS. We contact an average of 1,200,000 customers per annum to offer them low cost life insurance. We operate 3 call centres in NSW, who between them employ approximately 230 people. 1. Advantages of the proposal for a National Do Not Call Register a. There is provision for a limited exemption for 'existing business relationships' between a company and its customers. b. There is potential for the industry (which arguably has the requisite experience and resources) to manage the DNC register as opposed to a government body which may not have the appropriate resources / expertise to manage such a register. c. There is provision for enforceable sanctions, such as fines, to be imposed on ‘persons’
  37. 37. engaging in prohibited conduct. d. The DNC register will not be a self-regulatory system, thus it is legally enforceable against all 'persons' caught within jurisdiction of the paper, as opposed to selected persons (e.g. members of an industry association). e. The proposal presents an opportunity to ‘weed out’ poor industry players, to free up telemarketing space and to increase the standard of service provided by telemarketing providers. 2. Disadvantages & potential consequences regarding the proposal for a National Do Not Call Register a. Excessive exemptions & consumer education: The exemptions (from the prohibition on calling numbers listed on a do not call register) that are available to major players in the telemarketing industry (for example, religious organisations, registered political parties, market researchers undertaking social research) undermine the objectives of the regime, on the basis that if the above ‘exempt players’ are responsible for a significant portion of all telemarketing calls, there is real potential for the DNC register to fail to protect consumers from unsolicited and unwanted calls per se. This is because from a consumer’s perspective, a call from any of the ‘exempt players’ is arguably seen to be unsolicited and unwanted. An article entitled “Telemarketers Register Concerns” which appeared on page 50 of the Australian Financial Review on 07 November 2005 stated that “about three quarters of the 800 million calls Australian telemarketers make each year are for charities.” Further, the technicalities regarding the numerous exemptions to the proposed regime increase the risk that consumers will not understand how it works. Hence, despite the proposed introduction of the DNC call register, there is likely to be a continuing concern by consumers about telemarketing which is not likely to result in a reduction of customer complaints about intrusive telemarketing. Possible Solution: Remove or reduce the available exemptions (in particular for the major players in the telemarketing industry). Any remaining exemptions should be widely promoted in a plain English manner to increase consumer awareness of such exemptions so that when a customer requests to be placed on the DNC Register, they are clearly informed that they may still receive calls, due to such exemptions. b. Existing business relationships' exemption: The paper provides that affiliates or subsidiaries of companies considered to have existing business relationships with consumers may not be included under the ‘existing business relationships’ exemption. Many companies outsource their marketing and telemarketing to specialist service providers who have the appropriate resources or expertise to carry out efficient telemarketing activities. Clarification is required as
  38. 38. to whether or not organisations acting on behalf of companies (where the company has the relationship with the customer) fall within the ‘existing business relationship’ exemption. If the answer is in the negative, the proposal potentially excludes specialised telemarketing organisations (such as Transamerica and call centres) which may not be deemed (under the proposed regime) to have a direct business relationship with customers, from calling customers listed on the DNC register. Further, this could result in companies being forced to employ their telemarketing practices 'in house,' which increases the risk that those activities will fall short of the standard that can be offered by specialist telemarketing organisations. The net effect could potentially be very limiting for companies and specialised telemarketers, and could therefore compromise the quality of telemarketing services for Australians. Possible Solution: The scope of the exemption needs to be broad enough to include organisations who act on behalf of companies in providing telemarketing services to their customers. To alleviate any potential liability / enforcement issues, companies could be required to provide an undertaking to be responsible for the conduct of organisations they authorise to provide telemarketing services. c. Proposal vs. existing regulation: The proposal does not consider the potential inconsistencies with existing state and commonwealth regulation. For example section 992A of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) provides that before an offeror makes an unsolicited telephone call in relation to financial products (such as life risk insurance), it will need to ensure it can satisfy certain requirements, such as ensuring the customer is not listed on its “No Contact / No Call” register. Thus, if an existing relationship exists between the offeror and the customer who is listed on the DNC register, the offeror is prevented from calling that customer, under the Act. According to the proposal, however, an organisation may make an unsolicited telephone call if the customer is listed on the DNC register, provided an existing business relationship exists between them. Possible solution: Regulation of unsolicited telephone calls is consistent across industry sectors and across Australia. d. Protection afforded to the consumer / small business, not the telephone number: Members of a household may have differing views on telemarketing in that some people may be comfortable to receive calls whereas other members of that household may not be. The whole household could potentially be excluded from telemarketing calls as it may be the telephone number (as opposed to the consumer / small business) which is being suppressed. Possible solution: To this end, it is arguably more appropriate to afford protection (from unsolicited calls) to the consumer or small business, as opposed to the telephone number.
  39. 39. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact either of us directly on the numbers listed below Yours sincerely, Bruno Carbone
  40. 40. To whom it may concern, I am sick to death of having my home and family time invaded by unsolicited tricksters trying to sell their wares. I support a do not call registery.