Commissioner's Blog: Stop the interruptions - take back your phone from telemarketers and spam

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ConsumerBusiness / company

Unwanted calls and spam SMS can be a source of frustration. Whether it's persistent telemarketers interrupting your dinner or irrelevant promotional texts flooding your phone, there are ways to put a stop to them.


You may have forgotten about the Do Not Call register, which is a free service run by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). You can register your home, personal mobile or fax number online via or call 1300 792 958. The good news is you only need to register once.


Telemarketers then have 30 days to stop contact. The Do Not Call Register legislation applies not only to Australian telemarketers but also businesses within Australia that use overseas-based telemarketers and businesses based overseas making calls to Australian numbers.


The register works by requiring telemarketers to submit a list of phone numbers they wish to call to the Register Operator. The Register identifies any numbers that are not permitted to be called and they are removed from calling lists.


Keep in mind research or survey related calls are not telemarketing, so you may still receive these, as well as calls from registered political parties, politicians, government agencies, election candidates, registered charities or educational institutions where you are or were a student. These are all exempt. However, there are still rules to be followed.


Telemarketers can only call between 9am-8pm Monday-Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturdays and never on Sundays. Researchers can call 9am-8.30pm Monday-Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturday and Sundays. Neither can call on a national public holiday.


The caller must tell you their name, the name of their employer and why they are calling and their caller ID must not be blocked. They also must end the call if you ask them to.


Unfortunately scam calls won’t stop after registration. A legitimate caller should not mind if you want to verify their identity. You should never give an unsolicited caller any personal or financial information, including credit card details, or access to your computer.


Receiving an SMS about a sale from your favourite clothing store is helpful but when do ‘helpful’ texts turn into unwanted spam?


Marketing texts must also follow rules set out by ACMA. The business needs to have your consent, for example you ticked ‘subscribe’ on a form or entered a competition, include contact details and offer a way for you to unsubscribe or opt-out.


After you unsubscribe or opt-out the business must generally stop sending marketing texts within five days.


You can report spam messages to ACMA by forwarding the message to their dedicated SMS line – 0429 999 888, or you can report it online via ACMA’s spam complaint form. Also consider blocking the number on your phone. ACMA does take action and most recently issued penalties of over $3.7 million to Luxottica (Sunglass Hut, Oakley, OPSM),  Uber Australia, Kmart Australia and Ticketek for breaches of spam rules.


And just like with unsolicited calls, you may still receive text messages during elections or from registered charities and other Government bodies.


More information about rules regarding telemarketers and spam texts can be found at

Consumer Protection
Media release
18 Apr 2024

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