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Do Not Call Register operator breaches Register

Left hand, meet right hand, write $AUD110k cheque to cover fine

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The company to which Australia outsources operations of its Do Not Call Register has been fined for making telemarketing calls to numbers listed on the Register (not The Register, which we italicise).

Australia implemented a Do Not Call Register in 2007, after consumer anger about telemarketing moved the federal government to act. If consumers choose to be listed on the Register, telemarketers must not call 30 days after the date of enrolment. The Register was well-received by consumers and the direct marketing industry, with the latter accepting it as an inevitability.

A contract to operate the service was awarded to Service Stream Solutions, a listed company the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says still operates the service today.

ACMA also says "a 10 week campaign arranging installations for energy-saving products" conducted by Service Stream used numbers listed on the Register, " because the list wasn’t re-checked against the Register."

That's a silly thing to do, because ACMA suggests calling lists should be checked every 30 days.

Service Stream is now $AUD110,000 worse off as a result of its omission and has had to sign up to an "enforceable undertaking" to hire a consultant who will help it get its house in order, conduct additional training and get medieval on audits of future campaigns.

While the breach and fine are doubtless embarrassing for Service Stream, there is a little upside in the fact the company can at least say its Chinese walls work rather well. That's a small win, as customer service outsourcers sometimes share staff among different clients' call centres, a practice that can be of concern when those clients' businesses overlap. Service Stream can now point to a fine example of one team having little idea about another's activities! ®

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