Solar industry telemarketing practices are under the microscope by the ACMA

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ramped up its enforcement activities in relation to telemarketing practices in the solar industry. ACMA this week has confirmed that solar power business Allied Construction and Roofing Pty Ltd has paid a $21,600 infringement notice for calling numbers on the Do Not Call Register without consent. The payment of the infringement notice follows an investigation by the ACMA into consumer complaints about the company’s’ telemarketing practices. ACMA also accepted a court enforceable undertaking from the business detailing its commitment to comply with Australia’s telemarketing laws in addition to the payment of the infringement notice.

Solar industry telemarketing
Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash

The ACMA named telemarketing in the solar industry as a priority compliance area for 2017-18 following a high number of complaints from consumers. The enforcement action against Allied Construction and Roofing Pty Limited is the second targeted investigation finalised under the compliance campaign this year. In January 2018, Queensland-based solar power business, Instyle Solar Pty Ltd, paid a $10,800 infringement notice for failing to obtain consent to call numbers on the Do Not Call Register. The investigation by the ACMA found that Instyle Solar did not maintain adequate records of consent for numbers it gathered in several ways, including purchasing lists of numbers.

How should a solar business ensure that they are meeting their obligations?

All telemarketing activities must comply with the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth) and the Telemarketing and Research Calls Industry Standard.

Telemarketing activities can include calls that:

  • offer appointments to inspect a property or provide quotes;
  • ask consumers whether they have solar, or are interested in solar products, services, incentives or subsidies, with the aim of promoting a prospective provider.

If you’re a solar business that uses telemarketing, you should review your telemarketing activities to ensure you or other businesses you use to conduct telemarketing on your behalf (for example, lead generators) are not calling people on the Do Not Call Register without consent. The ACMA has made it clear that if calls are being made to people on the Do Not Call Register and you are unable to demonstrate consent, the ACMA will take action.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

The ACMA can take a range of enforcement actions against businesses found to have breached the Do Not Call rules—including seeking a civil penalty and/or injunctions from the Federal Court; giving an infringement notice; accepting a court enforceable undertaking; or issuing a formal warning.

The Federal Court can impose penalties of up to $1.8 million for each day on which contraventions occurred. The ACMA can issue infringement notices of up to $180,000 for each day on which contraventions occurred. With more than 10 million Australian phone numbers now on the Do Not Call Register, do you want to take that risk?

If you would like assistance in understanding your obligations and devising a compliance framework to actively manage risk in this area, please get in touch with our team. We are also able to assist businesses who receive notices from the ACMA as part of their targeted compliance campaign in responding to that notice and cooperating with the ACMA throughout their investigation.

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