The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is warning businesses it’s cracking down on telemarketing calls on the Do Not Call Register after Melbourne-based firm Lead My Way Pty. Ltd. paid a record $285,600 infringement notice.
Lead My Way, a business that generates leads for other businesses by calling consumers to gauge their interest in products and services, was penalised for allegedly failing to check all the numbers on its lists against the Do Not Call Register.
The register, set up in 2006, is a database of contact information maintained by the ACMA that businesses are required to reference their own lists against every 30 days.
Numbers on the register are not supposed to be contacted with unsolicited telemarketing calls, but the ACMA alleged Lead My Way was not checking all numbers it called against the register.
ACMA acting chair Creina Chapman said in a statement it was unacceptable for businesses which rely on telemarketing to have insufficient compliance processes in place.
“Lead generators are on notice that the ACMA will take strong action against telemarketers that break the rules,” Chapman said.
“It is also a timely reminder to any businesses that are buying ‘leads’ to make sure they comply with the law.”
Lead My Way is not the first business to be issued an infringement notice over alleged non-compliance with the register in 2018.
In May, Eco Star Double Glazing paid a $25,200 infringement notice for allegedly calling numbers on the register without consent.
In March, solar power business Allied Construction and Roofing paid a $21,600 infringement notice, while Instyle Solar paid a $10,800 infringement notice in January.
Regulators becoming “more active” in ensuring compliance
Lead My Way’s infringement notice is much larger though, which lawyer Angela Flannery believes is a sign the ACMA is trying to make an example.
“They’re thinking the penalties they have imposed in the past haven’t been enough to incentivise other companies to toe the line and make sure they’re compliant,” she tells SmartCompany.
“I suspect they’re also looking at other companies as well.”
Flannery, a partner at Holding Redlich, says the ACMA is stuck between a rock and a hard place with the register, amid competing views from industry and consumers.
“They don’t want to tell consumers that you need to register every five years or something like that, but the telemarketing sector is saying that eventually you will end up with almost every number in Australia on the list,” she says.
Liam Young, principal lawyer at Liam Young Legal, says the ACMA action highlights the increasing importance of the register.
“With the heightened sensitivity to privacy matters business can expect to see regulators taking a more active role in ensuring compliance,” he tells SmartCompany.
“For businesses in the telemarketing industry, they need to pay attention to their call lists and ensure they are monitored regularly against the Do Not Call Register.”
Young says businesses should focus on ensuring their broader procedures are compliant with the regulation.
“The occasional accidental breach is unlikely to attract regulatory action, but failure to properly have a procedure in place for checking calls against the register will bring a significant risk of regulatory action,” he explains.
SmartCompany contacted Lead My Way for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.