Technology

Mon, 8 Oct, 2018Basmah Qazi

How to take action against pesky telemarketing calls

How to take action against pesky telemarketing calls

There is nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of something important, only to have a telemarketer claiming to be from an insurance company blow up your phone.

Even after you have rejected their advances and given every indication that you are not interested, they still have a special talent of keeping you on the phone until they’re able to squeeze every detail out of you.

But while it seems like a never-ending cycle, and something you think you’ll have to deal with for the rest of your life, there are ways to avoid those pesky phone calls.

Telemarketers target over 1000 Australians per day, as they blow up their phones in order to sell what they’ve been told to. Most people don’t want to hear from them and now that landlines cease to exist in many homes, they now contact you on your mobile phone instead.

The Do Not Call Register, run by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is a list of numbers that telemarketers are legally not allowed to contact. If the law is breached, the telemarketer company is then given a hefty fine.

So, how do you get on that list?

Simply visit their website and register your details, including your mobile phone number. Once that is complete, telemarketers are then notified, and the calls should stop.

According to consumer rights organisation, Choice, only 14 per cent of Australian’s have registered their mobile numbers to the Do Not Call Register.

ACMA’s general manager of content consumer and citizen division Jennifer McNeil describes the online register as a “do not disturb sign out on your hotel door, but it’s for your phone.”

She does point out that it “won’t stop all calls.”

“There are some entities that can still call you by law,” she said. Such as Government organisations, education institutes, and registered charities just to name a few.

But there are still rules that apply, as they cannot contact you before 9 am or after 8 pm on a weekday and if they’re wanting to call on a Saturday, then it can only be between 9 am and 5:50pm. They are not allowed to call you at all on a Sunday.

Here are a few other ways you can avoid telemarketing calls:

1. Block their number

While it may seem like the obvious thing to do, many people aren’t aware that you’re able to block numbers through your smartphone.      

“If you get a pesky number calling all the time, and you recognise it, just block it through your phone settings,” says Ms McNeil.

“There are also products available that allow you to screen landline calls.”

2. Always be aware of what you’re signing up for

So, while none of us ever read the terms and conditions, because let’s face it, who has time for that? Turns out it’s actually important in this case.

If you ever wonder how telemarketers get your number in the first place, it’s most likely because you made an account on an online store and that specific store has passed along your information to other research companies.

While it seems unethical and a serious breach of privacy, it would be clearly stated in the agreement form which is why it’s important to go through it.

“There will usually be a special box in the terms where, if you’re not careful, you will end up giving your permission to be contacted by anyone for marketing purposes,” Ms McNeil says.

3. Don’t hang up

Our first instinct when we hear a telemarketer on the other line is to hang up, but according to Choice: “If you simply hang up on a telemarketer, your number could stay on their calls list, so you may be hassled again.

“The best way to ensure they don’t keep calling is to ask them to remove your number from their list,” said the consumer company.

It’s recommended to give a firm but polite response letting them know you aren’t interested and to remove your number from their contacts list.

4. Lodge a complaint

If you’ve tried all of the above and the calls just won’t stop, then it’s time to go straight to the top and lodge a complaint with ACMA. Ms McNeil says that those frustrated with constant calls can complain about companies who are being non compliant and a thorough investigation will be conducted.

“It’s through these sorts of complaints that we are able to issue infringement notices and stop relentless and unnecessary calls,” she says.

“It’s very important to make a record of when the call was made and the name of the business who called you, so we can investigate properly.”

In 2017, ACMA received over 12,600 complaints in the last four months of the year and 890 businesses were needed to be reminded of the legal rules they need to abide by.

Will you be trying out any of these tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below.

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