The call centre operator which operates the Do Not Call Register has been slapped with a $110,000 penalty by the Australian Communications and Media Authority after making telemarketing calls to numbers listed on the register.
Service Stream Solutions provides call centre services to a range of organisations and government agencies and its role includes operating the Do Not Call Register on behalf of the ACMA.
An ACMA investigation found the numbers were incorrectly included on a Service Stream Solutions calling list used during a 10-week campaign arranging installations for energy-saving products.
The company made over 7,000 calls in the period and the problem was not identified because the list wasn’t re-checked against the register. ACMA requires calling lists to be checked against the register every 30 days.
Service Stream Solutions has entered into an enforceable undertaking with ACMA which requires it to engage an independent consultant to review its calling list processes and train its telemarketing staff about their Do Not Call obligations, as well as auditing and reporting on the compliance of its future telemarketing campaigns.
ACMA said its investigation findings relate solely to the Service Stream Solutions telemarketing business and the penalty has not had, and does not have, any impact on the operation of the register.
Julia Cornwell McKean, investigations manager at ACMA, told SmartCompany the authority received a number of complaints and traced them back to Service Stream Solutions.
“What our investigation revealed was that Service Stream Solutions washed a marketing list and in finalising the list they inadvertently put the numbers back into the list, this would have been picked up if Service Stream Solutions had washed the list every 30 days as they should have.”
Washing a list requires telemarketers to submit the numbers they are going to call electronically and then remove any numbers that are on the Do Not Call Register.
“You need to update every 30 days because people are always registering and it gives you the chance to pick up any errors,” Cornwell McKean says.
The fine imposed by ACMA is the second biggest infringement notice the authority has ever issued after a $147,000 fine to Dodo.
The maximum penalty ACMA can issue is $170,000 per day, but if a company is taken to the Federal Court and is a repeat offender it could be fined $1.7 million per day for two or more calls.
SmartCompany contacted Service Stream Solutions for comment but no response was available prior to publication.