Submission to the Australian Communications and Media Authority on Proposed revisions to the Telecommunications (Do Not Call Register) (Telemarketing

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1 Submission to the Australian Communications and Media Authority on Proposed revisions to the Telecommunications (Do Not Call Register) (Telemarketing and Research Calls) Industry Standard 2007 Discussion Paper July

2 1. Introduction The Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Australian Communications and Media Authority s Proposed Revisions to the Telecommunications (Do Not Call Register) (Telemarketing and Research Calls) Industry Standard 2007 Discussion Paper. ADMA concurs that a review of Telecommunications (Do Not Call Register) (Telemarketing and Research Calls) Industry Standard 2007 (the Standard) should occur given that it has been in operation since May Industry and regulators have had a reasonable amount of time to assess the Standard and determine how it is operating. In ADMA s view the review of the Standard should be approached in the following ways: a) Permitted calling hours should be amended to 10am to 6pm and not be limited to 10am to 5pm b) The provision of information section should be redrafted to improve clarity c) The revised terminating telemarketing calls section should be amended as proposed in the Discussion Paper d) The additional subsection in the CLI section should be amended to provide additional clarity e) The name of the Standard should be changed as proposed in the Discussion Paper f) It should be noted that individuals have the opportunity to opt out of receiving calls from charities on a per organisation basis under the Privacy Act 1988 and the ADMA Code of Practice 2

3 2. About the Australian Direct Marketing Association ADMA is the principal industry body for information based marketing in Australia. ADMA was formed in 1966 and has during its 44 years of operation been involved in the formulation of law relevant to the direct marketing industry. Predominantly our focus has been the Privacy Act 1988, the Spam Act 2003, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the Do Not Call Register Act Direct marketing includes any marketing communication which uses personal information whose objective is to actively solicit and produce a tangible and measurable response. Direct marketing includes any marketing that is directed to an individual at a distance and includes marketing via: a) mail b) c) telephone call d) SMS or MMS e) The Internet (including over mobiles); and f) Social Media Networks ADMA s primary objective is to help companies achieve better marketing results through the enlightened use of direct marketing. Consistent with this objective, ADMA has been involved in co-regulatory and self-regulatory solutions over many years. ADMA operates a Direct Marketing Code of Practice which is a self regulatory code. Compliance with the Direct Marketing Code of Practice is a pre-requisite of our membership. The Direct Marketing Code of Practice is overseen by an independent Code Authority which administers consumer complaints. In addition ADMA also produces best practice guidelines for our members in fulfillment of our primary objective. ADMA has over 500 member organisations including major financial institutions, telecommunications companies, energy providers, travel service companies, major charities, statutory corporations, educational institutions and specialist suppliers of direct marketing services. Almost every Australian company and not-for-profit organisation directly markets to its current and potential customers as a normal and legitimate part of its business activities and the ability to continue to conduct this activity underpins a good proportion of Australia s economic activity. 3

4 3 Areas of Comment ADMA welcomes the opportunity to comment on the vitally important issue of the appropriate regulatory settings for telemarketing to Australian telephone numbers. It is essential that the Standard works in practice, is cost effective and strikes the correct balance between the needs of citizens and the imposition of regulatory burden on industry. 3.1 Revised permitted calling hours for Saturday and Sunday ADMA is concerned that the Australian Communications and Media Authority has taken the view that permitted calling hours should not change during week days. The Standard covers telemarketing calls to individuals, businesses and consumers. A restriction that prevents telemarketing calls being made before 9am is not well suited to the full suite of recipients that receive telemarketing calls. ADMA is also extremely concerned about any limitation on permitted calling times on weekends. The Do Not Call Register provides substantial protection for those consumers who do not want to receive telemarketing calls on a weekend. The Do Not Call Register is effective at stopping telemarketing calls and places a significant burden on industry including the exclusion of 5.4 million numbers which cannot be called without inferred or express consent. Importantly, telemarketing whilst being an expensive channel is also a very effective channel and any limitation on telemarketing will therefore have negative flow through consequences for businesses. ADMA strongly urges ACMA to reconsider Finding 2 1 in the context of why a restriction of telemarketing hours is necessary on weekends when those individuals who don t want to receive telemarketing calls can already exercise this choice by putting their telephone number on the Do Not Call Register. Limitation of permitted calling hours will result in negative consumer outcomes. It is important to recognise the economic, competitive and pro-consumer outcome that telemarketing provides. Access Economics in its study Economic Impacts of an Extension of the Do Not Call Register, 22 January 2010 found that limitations of telemarketing incurs 1 That there is strong support from individuals and consumer advocacy agencies for the times at which telemarketers can contact consumers on weekends to be reduced. 4

5 potential costs such as the reduction in revenues, employment, competition, innovation and market efficiency. If ACMA intends to pursue an initiative to restrict calling hours ACMA should ensure that a thorough Regulatory Impact Study, which is made available through public consultation, is undertaken. 3.2 Revision of the Provision of Information Section ADMA supports Finding 3 that the information that must be provided by telemarketers remains unchanged. ADMA supports Finding 4 that the provision of information section of the Standard requires redrafting to improve clarity. 3.3 Terminating Telemarketing Calls Section ADMA strongly supports Finding 5 that the provision for terminating a telemarketing call has acceptable protections for consumers and is not a regulatory burden to industry. ADMA supports the minor redrafting change to Section 7 (2) proposed in the Discussion Paper as per Finding Additional Subsection in the CLI Section ADMA fully supports Finding 7 that the CLI section should provide an additional explanation of the requirements around the presentation of CLI including clarification that an Australian telephone number can be presented to identify an organisation that initiates a telemarketing call from Australian and overseas. The proposed new drafting Calling Line Identification means a facility in telecommunications networks that indicates the network service number from which the call was initiated. doesn't quite address the issue. ADMA submits that the definition for Calling Line Identification should be Calling Line Identification means a facility in a telecommunications network that indicates either the network service number or common network number from which the call was initiated and which can be used to identify the originating caller or business. 3.5 The Name of the Standard ADMA supports Finding 8 to rename the Standard the Telemarketing Industry Standard

6 3.6 Automatic Dialing-Announcing Devices and Robocalls ADMA supports Finding 9 that the Standard should be redrafted to ensure it is clear that the Standard applies to telemarketing robocalls. 3.7 Other Areas of Telemarketing Practice With respect to the comment below Individuals and consumer protection agencies generally supported further regulation of these areas of strong support for the introduction of internal opt-out lists. Individuals felt that in the case of charity telemarketing calls, there were not provided with any choice as they cannot opt-out of charity calls through the register. ADMA notes that individuals have the right under the National Privacy Principle 2 of the Privacy Act 1988 to opt out of telemarketing calls or any type of marketing contact from charities. 6

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