Nuisance calls

CHOICE research shows that Australians are hounded by fundraising phone calls, with a quarter fielding requests for cash every week.

Image of CHOICE staff
By CHOICE staff

Who's on the line?

CHOICE has joined forces with the consumer lobby for older Australians, National Seniors, to call for an end to unwanted phone 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." 

Distress calls

The campaign comes hot on the heels of new CHOICE research showing that Australians are being bombarded with unsolicited calls. The research found:

  • 89% of people received at least one unsolicited call in a six-month period.
  • 25% of people receive unwanted calls from charities on a weekly basis.
  • Nearly 5% of Australians receive unwanted calls from charities to a landline on a daily basis or more often.

Want to take action? Join the campaign at Choice Consumer Advocacy.

Older Australians are particularly vulnerable to the barrage of calls – often more reliant on landlines and more likely to be home during the daytime than younger groups, they may also feel reluctant to hang up on or abruptly fob off a caller collecting charity donations.

"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.

"We 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 fund raising verges on harassment, it's bad for the charities and the community they are set up to serve. 

"For-profit marketing companies like Mondail, 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."