ACMA takes gotalk to court over 40,000 illegal calls

ACMA takes gotalk to court over 40,000 illegal calls

Telco could pay $220,000 for breaching Do Not Call Register and is vigorously defending its actions

Telecommunications player, gotalk, is in hot water for allegedly breaching the Do Not Call Register (DNCR) with reckless abandon.

The Do Not Call Register Act was introduced in 2006 to curb the number of telemarketing calls directed at residential citizens. Consumers can register their telephone numbers on the list to stop telemarketers from calling. Any person or organisation found contravening the act is subjected to monetary penalties.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is taking the company to the Federal Court for hiring two offshore call centres to dial numbers registered on the DNCR.

ACMA claims more than 40,000 illegal calls were made.

If convicted, gotalk could face the maximum penalty of $220,000, according to ACMA's website.

This is the first time ACMA has taken a company to the Federal Court for breaching the DNCR Act.

gotalk is vigorously defending its actions, stating that there is no proper foundation to the allegations being made against them by ACMA.

gotalk group manager, consumer product and channel marketing, Pauline Sabin, said the telco was 'disappointed' with the developments, claiming it has been essentially 'doubled pinged' by an issue that was dealt with years ago.

"There's nothing we can do about it now, but we do feel hard done by it considering we've done everything we were meant to do about it three years ago." Sabin added.

In a statement, gotalk outlined the alleged breaches occurred during four months at the end of 2007. The DNCR was launched in May 2007.

“AMCA is suing us for practices which mainly arose two years ago and we proactively took steps to fix,” gotalk CEO, Steve Picton, explained. “These allegations also relate to the actions of telemarketing companies which are no longer engaged by gotalk.”

Picton stated the company doesn’t condone breaches of the DNCR Act and no issues have been identified by ACMA under gotalk’s current practice.

“Taking court action a significant time after the issue was resolved wastes court time and taxpayer money, “ Picton said. “gotalk proactively reviews its business practices, and where issues are identified, immediately acts by taking steps to fix the problem.”

With the court action already filed, the government group has refused to comment on the issue.

Amendments to extend the register to include business and government numbers have been met with objections from the IT reseller community, which to some extent, relies on telemarketing calls to help drive sales.

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Tags Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)gotalkDo Not Call Register Act

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