Travel company dragged to court for alleged telecommunication industry breaches after collapsing into liquidation

A Queensland travel company that has collapsed into liquidation is being dragged to court by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Getaway Escapes is being taken to the Federal Court for allegedly breaching its obligations under the Do Not Call Register Act and Telemarketing and Research Industry Standard.

This is the first time ACMA has initiated proceedings in the Federal Court for alleged contraventions of the telemarketing industry’s guidelines.

The government body alleges Getaway Escapes made telemarketing calls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register and made calls without caller ID, which is in breach of industry standards.

ACMA is also alleging Getaway Escape’s director, Joanne Day, failed to ensure her company’s telephone listings were properly checked against the Do Not Call Register.

Getaway Escapes appointed liquidator Domenic Calabretta, from Mackay Goodwin, back in February 2015.

In March 2015, Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading issued a public warning about Getaway Escapes and its subsidiary company, AusFlights, and urged customers to contact travel providers directly to confirm their bookings.

Businesses need to make sure they are not harassing existing customers, as well as potential new ones

Vince Humphries, executive manager of unsolicited communications at ACMA, told SmartCompany while it’s obviously okay for businesses to make unsolicited calls to existing customers, they still need to make sure they aren’t annoying them.

“You have to respect it when they tell you I don’t want to receive more telemarketing calls,” Humphries says.

“You also have to respect it when they say I want to terminate the call, even if they don’t say it in that way.

“Often, the reputation of the business depends on getting this right. It’s one thing to comply with the law, but at the same time it’s about not annoying new or existing customers.”

The Federal Court can fine businesses up to $360,000 for each day they are found to have breached the Do Not Call Register Act, while individuals can be fined up to $72,000 per day.

Call lists compared to the Do Not Call Register can be used for up to 30 days

Lyn Nicholson, general counsel at law firm Holding Redlich, told SmartCompany businesses are required to screen the numbers of on their call lists against the Do Not Call Register.

Once a number is tested using this process, it can be used for up to 30 days.

“Failure to comply with the Do Not Call Act can result in fines, and the ACMA regularly issues fines for breach,” Nicholson says.

“In this instance, there was a further breach of the industry standard by using a caller ID blocked line.”

SmartCompany contacted Mackay Goodwin for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

SmartCompany was unable to contact Joanne Day for comment.

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