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Dealing with unsolicited telephone calls

March 29, 2011

Does this scenario sound familiar?  You entered a pile of competitions and now you suddenly notice a spike in telephone calls from all sorts of organisations you have never heard of before, all with “offers” and “deals” they think you will be interested in, but none of which you actually want!

Your phone number ended up on a database that has been sold or given to telemarketers.  

These databases are usually complied using your competition answers like your marital status or family income , and used by telemarketers determine if you might to be interested in their products. 

If you enter competitions regularly the likelihood of tracking the culprit responsible will be impossible, but there are steps you can take to prevent harassment.


Stopping Telemarketers

In 2006, Australia introduced the “Do Not Call” Register.  As a result, you can add your telephone or fax number to this register to prevent nuisance callers.  This includes mobile phone numbers, so long as they are for your private use.        

Registration is for five years and it is a free service. 30 days after you registered your number you should see a decline in these calls, as telemarketers and fax marketers must not contact the numbers you register.

However, there are some types of telemarketers that are exempt.  These are those who are making calls out of “public interest”, for example charities, religious or educational organisations, market researchers and registered political parties.

After you are registered for 30 days, and calls persist, you can complain.


Other good information to know is that in Australia, it is the law (under the Industry Standard) that a telemarketer must:

- Provide you with specific information when you request it, including who they are, why they are calling, and how they got your telephone number.

- Terminate the call if you indicate you no longer want the call to continue.

- The telemarketer is also required to ensure their calling line identification is enabled.  This means they can’t be calling from a “Blocked” number if you have caller ID (so you cannot obtain the      number).

Use this information to deter telemarketers.  For example, say to a telemarketer “This number is on the Do Not Call Register.  How did you get it?”.


Otherwise, if you are being particularly harassed by one telephone number, you might consider talking to your service provider about getting the telephone number blocked.  This is particularly helpful for fax services.  This should be a free service where the telephone number is considered to be a nuisance caller. 


To take advantage of the register, go to the website www.donotcall.gov.au.

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