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Frequently asked questions

Register - Overview

What is the Do Not Call Register?

The Do Not Call Register is a database where telephone and fax account holders can list their Australian number(s), to opt out of receiving certain telemarketing calls or marketing faxes.

It is against the law to make unsolicited telemarketing calls or send marketing faxes to a number listed on the Do Not Call Register. This is subject to some limited exemptions.

A number is eligible to be registered if it is:

What is telemarketing?

Telemarketing is the act of contacting consumers via telephone to offer, sell, advertise or promote goods or services.

Telemarketing calls may include:


Calls that are not considered telemarketing calls are:

What is fax marketing?

Fax marketing is the act of contacting consumers via fax, to offer, sell, advertise or promote goods or services.

Marketing faxes may include:

What exemptions apply under the Do Not Call Register legislation?

The following calls or faxes can still be made or sent under the Do Not Call Register legislation:

Can market and social researchers call or fax numbers on the Do Not Call Register?

Market and social researchers are permitted to call or fax numbers on the Do Not Call Register to conduct opinion polling and standard questionnaire based research. If such calls or faxes include a commercial-type purpose, even if it is not the primary or sole purpose of the call, it will fall within the definition of a "telemarketing calls" or "marketing faxes" and cannot be made to a number on the register.

What if I outsource telemarketing calls or marketing faxes?

Both the person making the call (the telemarketer) or sending the fax (the fax marketer) and the business requiring the call to be made, or fax to be sent, must comply with the Act. The legislation places a positive obligation on anyone entering into a telemarketing or fax marketing contract or arrangement with a third party, to undertake telemarketing or fax marketing on their behalf, to include express provisions requiring compliance with the Act.

There are potential penalties for not including provisions to comply with the Act in contracts, understandings and agreements.

Does the register extend to overseas callers?

Yes. The legislation applies irrespective of where the call or fax originates. For example, telemarketers operating out of South Africa must comply with Australia's Do Not Call Register in the same way as telemarketers operating out of Melbourne. In practice, however, if an overseas telemarketer is found in breach of the legislation, the ACMA will pursue the Australian company linked to that telemarketer or fax marketer.

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What does it mean to have "consent" to call or fax someone?

Telemarketers or fax marketers are able to make a telemarketing call or send a marketing fax to a number on the Do Not Call Register if they have consent from the person contacted. Consent can be either express or inferred.

Express consent is when a person has specifically requested to receive telemarketing calls or marketing faxes and has directly provided their number (either verbally or in writing) to the telemarketer or fax marketer for that purpose.

Consent will only be inferred where it is reasonable to do so. Consent may be inferred from the conduct and the business and other relationship between the recipient of the call or fax and the person making the telemarketing call or sending the marketing fax. Consent can be withdrawn at any time by the recipient of the call or fax.

Where a telemarketer or fax marketer seeks to rely on the consent of a person to receive a telemarketing call or marketing fax, the onus is on the telemarketer or fax marketer to prove that the consent existed. It is therefore important to keep adequate and appropriate records.

Further information is available in the industry information sheet about consent.

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Consumer registrations

How do consumers register their numbers?

Individuals, or their nominees, can register their numbers online at www.donotcall.gov.au, by calling 1300 792 958, by mail or by faxing 1300 793 514.

Consumers are advised that their registration may take up to 30 days to become effective.

Does registration expire after a period of time?

Registration is valid for eight years, after which time consumers need to re-register their numbers. Individuals can remove their registrations at any time.

Who is eligible to register?

The relevant account holder of the number can apply to list their number on the register. The relevant account holder is the person responsible for the account. The account holder can also nominate someone else in writing to apply to list their number on the register.

A number will only be eligible for registration if it is an Australian number that:

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Complaints and breaches

How can people make complaints?

Complaints about alleged breaches of the Do Not Call Register and industry standards can be made to the register operator by telephone, post or via the Do Not Call website. Any complaints involving potential breaches of the legislation will be referred to the ACMA for consideration and review.

What penalties apply to breaches of the legislation?

The legislation provides a range of enforcement options to the ACMA to deal with minor to very serious breaches. Penalty options include issuing formal warnings and infringement notices, seeking enforceable undertakings and taking civil court action. Penalties of up to $250,000 can apply for each instance of a breach of the legislation.

Can people who have suffered loss or damage as a result of a breach apply for compensation?

Yes. If the Federal Court or Federal Magistrates Court finds that one or more civil penalty provisions under the Act has been breached, a person who has suffered loss or damage as a result of those contraventions may apply to the Court for an order to be compensated by the perpetrator of the contraventions. The application to the court can be made by that person or can be made on behalf of that person by the ACMA.

Will a telemarketer or fax marketer be penalised if they make a call or send a fax by mistake?

A telemarketer who makes a call, or a fax marketer who sends a fax, to a number on the register, or causes a call to be made or fax to be sent, will not be liable for any penalty if they can satisfy the ACMA that the call was made, or that the fax was sent, by mistake.

What happens if a business calls or faxes a number they believe may be contacted but the consumer claims to be registered?

If this occurs, the telemarketing or fax marketing company should investigate the cause of the call or fax immediately. If the telemarketer or fax marketer has washed its list against the register during the 30 days prior to the call or fax, and the register did not state that the number contacted was on the list, then the telemarketer or fax marketer will not be in breach of the legislation

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Telemarketing and Research Calls Industry Standard 2007

The Telemarketing and Research Calls Industry Standard 2007 encourages best practice in telemarketing and research calls.

Generally, the standard applies to:

Minimum standards

The telemarketing and research calls industry standard establishes minimum standards in four main areas:

  1. restricting the calling hours/days for making telemarketing and research calls;
  2. requiring provision of specific information by the caller;
  3. providing for the termination of calls; and
  4. requiring callers to enable calling line identification.

Different rules can apply depending upon whether a call is a research call or other telemarketing call.

In general:

Where a call is for a ’dual purpose’, in that it contains opinion polling or research elements, but also has a telemarketing component, then the call becomes a telemarketing call for the purposes of the Act and must not be made to a number on the register unless it is a designated telemarketing call.

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Fax Marketing Industry Standard 2011

What is the fax marketing industry standard?

The industry standard for marketing faxes applies to all fax marketers and exempt organisations. It applies regardless of whether a fax is being sent to a number on the Do Not Call Register or not.

Organisations that send marketing faxes, need to be aware of the details of the Fax Marketing Industry Standard 2011

The national fax marketing industry standard encourages best practise in fax marketing, as well as potentially reducing compliance and administrative costs for industry and regulators.

Generally the fax marketing industry standard applies to all marketing faxes sent to Australian fax numbers, whether or not the numbers are on the Do Not call Register.

The fax marketing industry standard sets rules about when and how fax marketers can contact people. Specifically, it includes requirements for:

See Fax Marketing Industry Standard information sheet PDF (219KB) for more information

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Washing

How do I check my calling lists against the Do Not Call Register?

To establish access to the washing service (including the free washing service), individuals or businesses that engage in telemarketing and/or fax marketing must apply for a washing services account. Go to Washing Service Overview for more information.

Is there a free washing service?

Individuals or businesses that engage in telemarketing and/or fax marketing on an ad hoc basis and want to wash only a small amount of contact data (up to 500 numbers per annum) may take out a subscription type A and not have to pay a fee.

There are certain limitations attached to subscription type A. You may only hold one subscription type A at a time. If you want to take out any other subscription type/s you will have to cancel your subscription type A. If you do not cancel your subscription type A when you apply for another subscription type, it will be cancelled on your behalf.

Further information is available on the subscriptions page.

Can I get a refund?

If you apply for a refund, the ACMA will assess your request according to the Do Not Call Subscriptions Refund Policy. More details are can be found on Subscriptions overview page.

There has been an error with my washing. Can I get it reversed?

Information on list washing reversals can obtained from the register operator on 1300 785 749.

Issues with washing

How do I export a washed list into Excel?

When a file has been washed, and a user exports the results into Excel the first zero is cut off. The following process ensures the leading zeroes are included:

  1. Open up Microsoft Excel.
  2. Select File, New.
  3. Select Data, "Import External Data", "Import Data".
  4. Browse to your file and open it. Excel will present you with a file conversion dialog box.
  5. On the first screen, select "Delimited" (the default) and click "Next".
  6. On the following screen, select "Comma" as the delimiter, and click "Next".
  7. On the following screen, highlight the column containing your product codes, and select "Text" as the Column Data Format. Click "Finish" when done.
  8. Now Excel opens the file and all leading zeros are preserved in the Code column.

Can telemarketers contact the register in real time to see if a number is registered?

While turnaround times for list washing are generally less than one minute, businesses wanting to wash less than ten numbers can do so quickly by using the Quick Check facility.

The information in this document is intended to provide general guidance about the Do Not Call Register only and should not be relied on as legal advice, or as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases.


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