September 28, 2016
Consumer group CHOICE has joined forces with the consumer lobby for older Australians, National Seniors, to call for an end to unwanted calls asking for money.
“Calls asking for money are intrusive and put vulnerable members of society at risk when they are hounded week in and week out,” says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
“Unfortunately consumers can’t use the Do Not Call Register to opt out of all nuisance calls, with for-profit companies’ call centres exploiting the charity exception to hound people.
“Clearly the law needs to change to allow people to opt-out of all unsolicited calls that involve financial transactions.”
The call comes as the latest CHOICE research shows Australians are being bombarded with unsolicited calls. The research found:
• 89% of people receiving at least one unsolicited call in a six-month period.
• 25% of people receiving unwanted calls from charities on a weekly basis.
• Nearly 5% of Australians receiving unwanted calls from charities to a landline on a daily basis or more often.
“Overwhelmingly, people do not want to be contacted in this way. The frequency and persistence of the nuisance callers basically amounts to harassment,” Mr Godfrey says.
“We are hearing from our members that the calls are making them anxious and they are reluctant to answer the phone,” says National Seniors Chief Executive Officer Dagmar Parsons.
National Seniors collected stories from older Australians affected by unwanted calls from charities, and found that people are:
• Avoiding answering their phones.
• Considering disconnecting their landlines.
• Moving in with elderly relatives in order to protect them from unwanted and aggressive unsolicited phone calls seeking donations.
“Our research found that calls from charities, and the for-profit marketing businesses that represent them, make up the bulk of unwanted calls,” says Mr Godfrey.
“Of course charities need to be able to raise funds to survive but when the nature of the fundraising verges on harassment, it bad for the charities and the community they are set up to serve.
“For-profit marketing companies like Mondial, Insight Charity Fundraising Services and 2evolve are making money from this loophole in the Do Not Call Register – it’s time to clean up this mess and give consumers an option to opt-out of any call that asks them for money.”
Consumers can take action at www.choice.com.au/controlthecalls and www.nationalseniors.com.au/controlthecalls.
About the Do Not Call Register:
The Do Not Call Register allows consumers to register their number to reduce unsolicited telemarketing calls. There are some limited exemptions included in the legislation that creates the Register, allowing certain public interest organisations to make telemarketing calls. These include registered charities.
CHOICE head of media, Tom Godfrey, 0430 172 669
National Seniors Media Advisor, Rosemary Desmond 07 3233 9106
To read more on CHOICE tests, reviews and campaigns, go to choice.com.au
To read more about National Seniors’ work, go to nationalseniors.com.au