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Rogue telemarketers Ignore Do Not Call rules

2008-09-10 08:00:00

Rogue telemarketers are flouting Australia's Do Not Call register, producing a surge in complaints from annoyed householders.

Latest figures from the Australian Communications and Media Authority reveal there were nearly 5000 complaints of potential breaches of the register in May and June this year.

That pushed the total number of complaints since May last year - when the register first opened - to 25,684.

The register's executive manager Grant Symons said the progressive figures showed the number of reported Do Not Call breaches had begun to fall after the first few months, but climbed again this year.

He blamed the fluctuating level of complaints on new players entering the telemarketing field, saying it was too early to expect a long-term decline.

"I think it would be unreasonable to expect that in the first 12 months of operation, that you are going to get an enormous cut-through," he said.

"What we do find is that as we deal with businesses, they generally don't re-offend."

Australians so far have listed more than 2.4 million telephone numbers on the Do Not Call register, including about 400,000 fixed phone lines in Queensland and 750,000 mobiles nationwide.

That is supposed to stop unsolicited calls from telemarketers, although cold calling by charities, churches, schools, politicians, pollsters and government bodies is allowed within limited hours.

But despite continued reports about illegal telemarketing calls - hitting a record of more than 3000 complaints in May this year - Mr Symons said feedback from consumers was overwhelmingly positive, with a significant reduction in unwanted calls.

And he predicted the number of Do Not Call breaches would begin to decline. Penalties were expected to be imposed soon on several companies now under investigation.

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