IT'S invariably when you're just about to sit down for dinner, feed the baby, or hop in the shower, that telemarketers call you. And their call is likely to be met by a groan. Why oh why did I answer the phone, you may ask as you listen to their spiel about why you need a new phone provider, a new set of steak knives, or a new kitchen sink. Knowing that they're just doing their job, you try to politely get off the phone, but should you be successful, they're likely to call back. And even if you do ask them not to call again, there is no specific law that can force them to stop calling. This is something the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) is trying to change, lobbying the powers that be to intro- duce such a law. But executive officer of the new Do Not Contact Register of Australia Ian Hook says Australia has enough laws to force compa- nies to respect individuals. And he's intent on using those laws to ensure people who don't want to be contact- ed, aren't. "Once a consumer has added their names to our Do Not Contact register, we send the details to 50,000 companies," he said. "But we don't just leave it at that. We ask consumers to keep a record and let us know if a company contacts them again, and if they do, we send a warning to the com-
pany, then we go to the Privacy Commissioner. However, the office of the Privacy Commissioner says that the lack of legis- lation would prevent them from doing much. Mr Hook says that if the company continues to ring the consumer, they will seek an Apprehended Vio- lence Order for harassment. "This system gives us a monitoring system to en- sure compliance," he said. "People are being driven nuts. And many people are too polite to tell someone to knick off." ADMA says that Mr Hook's company is a waste of money because it gives false expectation when no company is obliged by law to remove names from their contact lists. "We're concerned about how it's going to be en- forced, because there are no laws that forces them to
stop," ADMA legal affairs director Jodie Sangs- ter said. ADMA also has a Do Not Contact list, which goes to their 500 or so members, who
do have to comply, but she says it's in the interest of companies to stop calling those who ask not to be contacted because it's damaging to the brand. Registering on the Do Not Contact Regis- ter of Australia will cost $10 every 12 months for each phone number, fax line and postal address, you can nominate organis- ations you still want to contact you. Contact 1300 734 287 or www.privacy4u.com.au. Reg- istering on the ADMA Do Not Contact List is free. Contact (02) 9368 0366 or www.ad- ma.com.au.