Thursday, May 03, 2007

Don't Call Us…

Ah, its a dream come true... or is it? After years of complaints about telemarketing, the Federal Government has finally established a national 'Do Not Call' Register which allows phone subscribers to add their number to a list of banned numbers for telemarketers. If anyone does make a telemarketing call to you, and your number is on the list, they face fines of up to $1 million. But the service went up - and straight back down. It was swamped by people wanting to register, and crashed (see Do Not Call list swamped).

Telemarketers are just plain rude. Sure, we all acknowledge that the best time to catch you is at home in the evening, but does that really give them the right to ring you at 1:00 am? Or to ring back the very next week when you told them you weren't interested? And what about your instructions to them to remove your number from their list and never call again - why is it none of these companies will, on moral grounds alone, obey this simple request?

It's about time that a register like this existed. There already were a few, in fact, like the one run by ADMA, the Australian Direct Marketing Association, but they were voluntary and didn't have the legislative teeth that this new, government-run Register, has. Unfortunately, its not all as sweet as it appears. For starters, how will the Australian Government be able to fine overseas telemarketers, since they are subject to the laws of the country they are calling from, not ours? And secondly, the Do Not Call Register makes exemptions for political parties and their members, religious organisations, charities, polling companies and educational institutions. Between them, those groups would make up 75% of the nuisance calls anyway. So although its a step in the right direction, its certainly not what it should be. My phone is my own private line to the world, and no-one should be allowed to call it if I choose not to let them. That includes pollsters, pollies, and beggars. I pay the rental on it, so why should someone else benefit from my expenditure without my permission?

Put your phone number of the Do Not Call Register

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