Good and the bad on silent numbers

We have good news and bad news on silent numbers – and a warning.

The good news is that Telstra made silent line services free from mid-February, dropping the $2.93 monthly charge. Optus does not charge for the service. The bad news is that in 2016–17, complaints about calls from telemarketers jumped 20 per cent.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said there were 28,200 complaints about telemarketers in 2016–17, up by more than 5000 on the previous financial year. It also reported that an extra 375,000 numbers had been added to the Do Not Call Register – an increase of 3.5 per cent.

ACMA sent 5049 compliance warnings about potential breaches of telemarketing and spam in the past financial year – a 23.1 per cent increase on the 2015–16 financial year.

And the warning?

YourLifeChoices member ‘On the Ball’ advises everyone to read the fine print when signing up for information or services from “some of those stalls that frequent shopping malls (security shutters, tile painting, solar panels etc)”. The member believes “you may also be approving the removal of your number from the Do Not Call register” when you sign up for further information or special offers.

An ACMA spokesperson said that the only person who could remove a number from the Do Not Call register was the owner of that number, but she said the terms and conditions of any special offer might permit that particular business to ring the silent number.

She advised anyone concerned about their privacy to ask questions and/or read the terms and conditions before signing anything.

ACMA says most businesses did the right thing and checked contact numbers against the register.

Have you had an unsolicited call to a silent number? Did you report them?

Written by Janelle Ward

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