Compliance tip - Cold calling

City people 016

Cold calling: what are the rules?

Do you use telemarketers? Do you purchase lists or create lists for cold calling?

Cold calling is a common marketing practice, but it’s one that is not very well liked by Australian consumers. To cut down on the annoyance factor, individuals have the option of putting their name and number on a national Do Not Call Register and by law, your calling list must be checked against it before you cold call anyone.

It doesn’t matter whether you make the calls or a telemarketer makes the calls, you must comply with the requirements of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (DNCR Act). Calling consumers is only permitted if you have an established ongoing relationship, or they have given you permission to contact them.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is responsible for enforcing the DNCR Act. Any Australian can register their domestic landline, mobile or fax. So what are the key requirements of the DNCR Act?

  • It is illegal for most unsolicited telemarketing calls or marketing faxes to be made to numbers on the register. Businesses have 30 days from the date a number is registered to check their call lists and stop contacting that number.
  • Some unsolicited calls are permissible, including marketing calls from businesses with which the recipient has an established ongoing relationship, unless consent has been withdrawn i.e. they have opted-out of marketing.
  • You have a key obligation not to make unsolicited telemarketing calls to numbers on the register and this applies to both businesses which make telemarketing calls themselves, and businesses which engage a third party to make telemarketing calls on their behalf.
  • Unsolicited calls are subject to telemarketing industry rules and require callers to enable the display of their phone number and to terminate that call upon request.

You or your telemarketers are not allowed to call:

  • on Sundays or public holidays
  • before 9am or after 8pm on weekdays
  • before 9am or after 5pm on Saturdays.
  • Organisations which fail to meet their obligations under the DNCR Act risk significant penalties. Penalties includes formal warnings, enforceable undertakings and/or fines/infringement notices.

Protect your business by ensuring that only solicited calls are made. If you are calling an existing customer, or a consumer completes an online form requesting additional information on mortgage products or contacts you in any other way, you can respond by phoning them to discuss their requirements further as this is not considered a cold call.

If you’d like to find out more about the rules and regulations governing cold calling practices, you can check out the regulations here. If you have any questions about cold calling, please don’t hesitate to contact the Compliance Team by clicking your Help button in Mercury. We’ll be happy to help.