Optus reforms after call complaints

Summary:Optus has entered an enforceable undertaking to overhaul its telemarketing systems following an investigation held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Optus has entered an enforceable undertaking to overhaul its telemarketing systems following an investigation held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The investigation found that Optus had inadequate telemarketing compliance system, which had resulted in thousands of complaints from people on the Do Not Call Register, who had received calls from the company's telemarketers. Many complainants were Optus customers who had opted out of Optus marketing pushes.

The ACMA said that it had informed Optus on "several occasions" of customer complaints, but that the complaints had continued to roll in. Most of the complaints were about calls relating to mobile phone packages, the authority said.

"While businesses are able to make telemarketing calls to their customers in some circumstances, they clearly need to respect any request by their customers that these calls stop," ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman said.

The ACMA said that Optus' record keeping and oversight of its call centres was inadequate, and that it had failed to record opt-out requests for Optus customers.

The enforceable undertaking will see Optus keep records of telemarketing calls that it or its call centres make, and audit the records monthly in order to report back to the ACMA. It will also implement procedures to record which of its customers have opted out of marketing calls. This will go on for two years.

The ACMA noted that Telstra had given a similar undertaking in 2009, which it said led to an 89 per cent fall in complaints about the telco's telemarketing.

Optus general manager of Regulatory Compliance, Gary Smith, said that Optus' goal was to review its practices to adopt a best-practice telemarketing compliance model, and added that complaints received by the ACMA over the last 12 months had decreased by more than 50 per cent.

"However, we recognise that further improvement in this area is required in order to create a better customer service experience for our current and future customers, and look forward to working with the ACMA to achieve this goal," he said.

Topics: Government, Government : AU, Optus, Telcos

About

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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