Do Not Call Registry

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is the legal entity responsible for establishing and managing the Do Not Call Register under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006. Consumers that have entered their number on the register, are opted-out of receiving either certain telemarketing calls or marketing faxes. If you’re planning an email campaign instead, make sure to comply with the Spam Act

It is prohibited to make an unsolicited telemarketing call or send an unsolicited marketing fax to a number on the register.

To avoid penalties for contacting registered numbers, telemarketers and fax marketers can check, or 'wash', their contact lists against the numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register.

If you’ve found yourself eligible to conduct telemarketing calls under the Act, you still need to comply with the Telemarketing and research calls industry standard.

What is a telemarketing call or a marketing fax?

Under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 a telemarketing call or a marketing fax is broadly defined as a voice call or fax made to a number to offer, supply, provide, advertise:

  • Goods or services
  • Land or an interest in land
  • A business opportunity or investment opportunity or to solicit donations

A telemarketing call has two key elements:

  • It must be a voice call
  • It must have a particular commercial-type purpose.

Exceptions to the Act

  • Calls or faxes conducted for the purpose of research which have no commercial-type purpose can be made or sent to numbers on the register. However, the industry standards (see ‘Industry Standards’ below) apply to all participants in the fax marketing, telemarketing and research industries covered by the general prohibition contained in the Do Not Call Register Act 2006.
  • Calls and faxes to conduct opinion polling and standard questionnaire-based research are subject to the industry standards for fax marketing and telemarketing and research calls.
  • Telemarketing calls and marketing faxes may still be made or sent to individuals who have expressly consented to receiving them or where consent can be reasonably inferred from their conduct and business or other relationships.

Exempt Organisations

Certain public interest organisations are still allowed to contact numbers that are listed on the register. Exemptions apply to:

  • charities
  • religious organisations
  • educational institutions
  • government bodies
  • registered political parties
  • political candidates
  • independent members of parliament

Express Consent

This occurs where an individual or an assigned representative, has specifically agreed to receive a telemarketing call or marketing fax from the business. Where express consent has not been given for a set period or indefinitely, consent is taken to expire three months after being given.

What if express consent has not occurred?

In the absence of express consent to receiving telemarketing calls or marketing faxes, consent may still be able to be reasonably inferred from both an individual's conduct and business or other relationships. For example, it is possible that a person who holds an 'XYZ Bank' credit card may reasonably expect to receive calls or faxes about 'XYZ Bank' home loans or XYZ Bank' savings products.

However, it is less likely to be reasonable for a person with an 'XYZ Bank' credit card to receive a 'cold call' from 'Lucky's Financial Services', regardless of any subsidiary relationship that these entities might share.

If a person indicates that they do not wish to receive telemarketing calls or marketing faxes from the organisation, consent ends immediately and can no longer be inferred.

Penalties

There is a range of penalties for contraventions of the Act. These include infringement notices, injunctions and court proceedings.

The Federal Court can impose penalties of up to $220,000 for each day on which contraventions occurred. The ACMA can issue infringement notices of up to $110,000 for each day on which contraventions occurred.

Contraventions of the industry standards may lead to formal warnings, injunctions, or financial penalties. Penalties may be up to $250,000 for each contravention.

How to ensure that your contacts are not on the do not call registry?

Anyone planning to make telemarketing calls or send marketing faxes should submit their contact lists to the Do Not Call Register herefor checking against the register ('washing'). Once the list is washed, it is returned, with numbers identified as listed or not listed on the register or invalid. Under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006, a person who submitted a list for washing can rely on the information received from the washed list for 30 days.

To have their lists checked, users can either select from the following options:

  • use the Quick Check option for 10 numbers or less, on the Do Not Call Register industry website
  • upload lists via the industry website here
  • use the Automated Washing Service(AWS), which uses secure File Transfer Protocol
  • send their lists to the register operator on CD-ROM by . certified mail(address below page)

What you should do before calling or faxing

Before contact lists can be submitted for washing against the Do Not Call Register, the user must follow these steps:

  • Set up a account with the register operator
  • Agree to the terms of use
  • Select a subscription type
  • Agree to the subscriptions terms and conditions
  • Pay the applicable annual subscription fee

An account can be created online by accessing the Do Not Call Register industry website, or by telephone on 1300 785 749 for businesses wanting to submit lists on CD-ROMs for washing.

Return of washed lists

Once a contact list is submitted for washing, the register operator will wash it against the numbers on the Do Not Call Register.

Washing will generally take less than a minute depending on the size of the calling list, the load on the register operator's system at that time, and the preferred format for the returned washed list. Depending on the preferred format of the washed list, the user will receive a washed list that includes:

  1. The numbers in the submitted contact list that are on the register (single file)
  2. The numbers in the submitted contact list that are not on the register (single file)
  3. Both of the above (two separate files)
  4. The submitted contact list, washed, with indicators (single file).

Industry Standards for telemarketing

Even if you’re allowed to conduct telemarketing calls under the Act, you still need to comply with the Industry Standards for telemarketing.

Telemarketing and research calls industry standard

Any individual or organisation that makes, or arranges for telemarketing or research calls to be made, including those that are exempt from the prohibition on calling telephone numbers on the register (such as charities), needs to abide by the telemarketing and research calls industry standard. The telemarketing and research calls industry standard applies to all voice calls made to Australian numbers that:

  • offer, advertise or promote goods, services, land, interests in land, business opportunities or investment opportunities
  • advertise or promote suppliers or prospective suppliers of such things
  • solicit donations
  • conduct opinion polling or standard questionnaire-based research

The telemarketing and research calls industry standard establishes minimum requirements for those making telemarketing and research calls in four main areas:

1. Restricting the calling hours and days for making telemarketing and research calls

Under the telemarketing and research calls industry standard, a caller must not make or attempt to make a call on:

Research calls Telemarketing calls
Weekdays Before 9.00am or after 8.30pm Before 9.00am or after 8.00pm
Saturdays Before 9.00am or after 5.00pm Before 9.00am or after 5.00pm
Sundays Before 9.00am or after 5.00pm All day
National public holidays All day All day

Exemption

Where consent has been given by the call recipient in advance to receive the call during the prohibited calling hours.

2. Requiring provision of specific information by the caller

Under the telemarketing and research calls industry standard, a person making the telemarketing call must, at the start of the call, provide their contact information, the name of the person or business that caused the call to be made and explain the purpose of the call. A person making a research call must provide this information during the call.

On request, under the telemarketing and research calls industry standard, callers must also provide the source of the telephone number. Additional information also needs to be provided if the call recipient requests it, including the name and contact details of any person responsible for dealing with consumer enquiries and complaints.

3. Providing for the termination of calls

The telemarketing and research calls industry standard requires the caller to terminate the call in a range of circumstances, including where the call recipient asks for the call to be terminated or otherwise indicates that he or she does not want the call to continue.

4. Requiring callers to enable calling line identification

The caller is also required to ensure that calling line identification is enabled at the time that the caller makes or attempts to make a call.