20th Jun 2017

No more nuisance calls: how to prevent telemarketer calls

How to prevent telemarketer calls
Leon Della Bosca

Are you sick of rushing to answer the phone, only to find out it is yet another telemarketing company attempting to sell you something? Here’s how you can prevent those nuisance calls.

The Do Not Call Register is run by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). If you put your phone or fax number on the register, telemarketers and fax marketers are required by law to stop contacting you.

Who can sign up?

Any number that is primarily used for personal purposes, any lines that are solely for sending and receiving faxes (either business or personal) and numbers that are exclusively used by a government body. This means you can put your home number, fax line or mobile number on the register.

Will this stop all telemarketing calls?

Unfortunately, no, but it will drastically reduce the number of calls you receive. Any business with which you have a prior relationship will still be able to call you. If you wish to stop receiving calls from such business, ask the person who calls you to remove your details from the business’s system.

Charities, political parties and educational institutions are also exempt, so that they can continue to provide services to the community.

Are international companies exempt?

No, the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 makes it illegal for any Australian or international telemarketer or fax marketer to contact a number listed on the register.

What is considered a telemarketing call?

Telemarketing includes, but is not limited to:

  • calls offering to sell goods or services
  • calls to sell tickets in a competition
  • calls requesting the recipient to attend an information seminar
  • calls offering to sell land or an interest in land, or a business or investment opportunity
  • customer satisfaction calls that have the intention to solicit sales
  • calls that offer free goods as part of, or in conjunction with, overall sales campaigns
  • calls for credit arrangements
  • calls offering anything for "free" that is conditional on expenditure
  • calls for the purpose of determining whether or not further telemarketing calls from the organisation are welcome
  • calls offering free use of a product for a set period with an option for financial subscription/purchase afterwards, and
  • calls to solicit donations.


Calls that are not considered telemarketing include:

  • product recall calls
  • fault rectification calls
  • appointment rescheduling calls
  • appointment reminder calls
  • calls relating to payments
  • solicited calls
  • calls not answered by the person to whom the call is made.


What if I get telemarketing calls after putting my number on the register?

If you continue to receive calls, you can make a complaint to ACMA. To make sure ACMA can take action on your complaint, be sure to get as much information about the telemarketing call as possible. Write down the time and date of the call, the phone number on which they called you, your phone service provider, and any details of the call – for example, the company name or product being sold.

More information

To put your number on the register, visit the ACMA Do Not Call Register website.

If you have already registered and are receiving calls, you can lodge a complaint via the Do Not Call Register Complaints centre. 


To make a comment, please register or login
21st Jun 2017
A waste of time trying to stop them ! They now use a switch to make it look like a call is coming from an 02 or 03 number . I now use a footy whistle to end the call
22nd Jun 2017
I have caller ID. I just don't pick up the phone. Charities, dentists, medical services all trying to drum up easy money - you can't stop them.
If any family members have a private number they have to leave a message and I will phone them back. I don't even get up to check anymore. I got so sick of getting down off a ladder or interrupting a meal - so annoying.
21st Jun 2017
I agree - nothing seems to stop them. I think I will go with your suggestion and buy a whistle. I have even asked for my number to be taken off but still the calls continue. Barb
Miss Piggy
21st Jun 2017
When I lived in Queensland, I had to resort to changing my phone number and making it a silent line in order not to receive these infuriating calls. It worked, at a cost to me, but one I considered worthwhile. I have now moved to Victoria and have a new number, but took off the silent option. I gave out this number to no one but my daughter, on-line or otherwise, but within two days had received no less than ELEVEN marketing calls. Telstra say numbers are not sold, or otherwise given out, by them. ??? The Do Not Call register is useless - too many exemptions and the telemarketers have worked out how to get around the rules by the way they couch the calls. Must I once again go the silent line route? I could, but would then have to also change the phone number, having only just received it, in order to start over.

I like the whistle idea, but then you still have to answer the call to find out who it is.

Being a "privacy" nut in all aspects of living, life now in this "let it all hang out" society, has become a living hell.
22nd Jun 2017
Telstra will block a number for you. I had to do that. The numbers are just on auto dial and they just keep on keeping on.
22nd Jun 2017
We have had this discussion many, many times before, and everyone is just repeating the same stuff as last time.

Getting a silent line WILL NOT WORK. The telemarketers DO NOT have your number as such. They use a computer that dials every sequence of numbers in turn,

eg, 03 1111 1111, 03 1111 1112, 03 1111 1114 etc etc. The computer DOES NOT KNOW that you have a silent line. That is totally irrelevant. Silent lines only mean that you are not listed in a directory, and the number IS ONLY AVAILABLE, to the people you tell. No matter how many times we tell people this, they still cannot get it into their thick heads.

Get Caller ID and an answering machine. Much cheaper than a silent line. Program all your friends, doctor, dentist, regular callers etc into the phone, and don't answer if it comes up unknown. Let the machine take the call, and if it is someone you know, pick up the phone then.
22nd Jun 2017
The Do Not Call register stops "ordinary" telemarketers but not those aggravating foreign calls trying to tell you your Windows/Visa/Mastercard/whatever has issues. Depending on my mood I just hang up, swear, or keep them on the line so they are not annoying someone else. I have said "Oh hold the line I will go and check" and just put the phone down - when I go back later they have gone. I often say "This number is registered with the Australian Government Do Not Call Register and this is an illegal call" which makes them hang up. My son has told me there are lots of You Tube videos on how to "play" with these calls - learning to swear in Indian is one!

Alternatively I could just take my landline phone offline - we have mobiles.
22nd Jun 2017
Somehow they have a mobile phone list too. I was surprised to find a company went straight from dialing my unanswered main phone to my mobile. I thought it must have been important - but no.
I would love to know how they got my number.
22nd Jun 2017
My response to nuisance calls was to install an answerphone. Told those I wanted to hear from how to announce themselves, ignored all other calls. Works for me, but then I still have a landline because I have a PC.
22nd Jun 2017
I think the idea of a whistle is just HORRIBLE. The person who is calling you is an underprivileged, underpaid person most likely sitting in India , the Philippines or possibly Vietnam. He or she is just trying to make a living and depends on a commission to make ends meet. The companies (Australian???) they work for are the ones to blame.
22nd Jun 2017
Maggie, get alife or get a pet. I dont like these calls around my meal times.
22nd Jun 2017
Maggie, do you live in Mars already? Usually those calls, particularly the ones asking and telling you that your PC "has a problem" that have been detected "by our servers" and needs to be fixed and so on, they are from scammers not "underpaid persons". Actually theyr earn more in one day than us in a year...

Last time I insulted and abused verbally the past generations of the guy and girl on the phone and they never called me back again.

Sorry but you live in another reality...

22nd Jun 2017
Thank you Maggie for showing the other side. Shame on the people who were rude to you. This forum should always be inclusive of views especially when they are not abusive or nasty.
We are elderly people and should know how to behave.
There is a human aspect but people who call invade the privacy of your home like a knock at the door. We like to know the caller.
Good point about the companies and we should try to track them down and annoy them.
Star Trekker
22nd Jun 2017
I have a Call Guardian phone from Telstra. Best thing I have ever bought. If they want to get through they have to say who they are and then I can choose to accept or not. Most telemarketers etc never get past first base.
22nd Jun 2017
If I dont get a response soon after I ask "hello" I just hang up. If it important they will call back. If I recognise the number and I dont want to picku I let it go to vaive mail, if they dont leave a message I know it is a sales or telemareting call. No problems!
22nd Jun 2017
I have an answer machine which, if I am home, I will answer when a voice comes on the line - if it's an overseas call, they hang up as soon as they hear the answer machine, and I just hear the "engaged" signal come through the machine. Friends know to speak and leave a message, and if I'm home, I can press a button to turn off the machine and answer straight away. Sometimes, if I am home, I can get 6+ of these calls a day, and my number is on the "Do Not Call" register. Bit of a nuisance if I am having a "nana" nap, though, as the ringing phone wakes me up!
East of Toowoomba
22nd Jun 2017
Disillusioned, I use my answering machine the same way but I've found a way to turn the ringer to silent and it answers all calls immediately, so I miss every phone call and this suits me fine.

The machine flashes to let me know there is a message and so far, no telemarketers have left a message. As my phone plan has a number of included free phone calls, it doesn't cost me anything to return the call and I can do so when convenient. My family and friends know to contact me on the mobile if it's urgent otherwise they leave a message and know I'll call them back eventually.
22nd Jun 2017
It must be difficult to stop overseas calls. On the Register, I still get a lot.
I ask them to hold, then walk away for 5 minutes.
Jabbathe Hut
22nd Jun 2017
I never answer my Phone letting the answering machine do it. It says Hi if you are a friend start talking, If you are a telemarketer, we don't answer your calls.
So far only one telemarketer has left a message and that was a scare scam that I ignored and reported to scam watch.
22nd Jun 2017
And charities and political parties are exempt. Charities are some of the worst offenders and can get quite abusive if you say 'No thank you".
22nd Jun 2017
Agree wholeheartedly regarding some charities, KSS. Last week I took a call from one which had been badgering us for years, despite being asked umpteen times to take us off their list. I again asked to be taken off their list, saying “It seems you only take us off for a couple of months then we go back on again.” The caller replied that he couldn’t effectively remove us from the list; I needed to ring a different number in their organisation that he would give me. He also said that it cost them money to make these calls, so people who didn’t want to make donations should make sure they were taken off the list properly. Priceless! I was speechless. "So, to save you money you want me to ring you to ask to be removed from your list?" "That's right." I… might have then used a naughty word or three.
22nd Jun 2017
After many calls claiming to be from the ATO that I owed money and they were going to send the Sheriff for my arrest for non payment I rang the ATO because I was distressed knowing full well I did not owe any money. They took my details and the phone number they used and said it was a scam and they would trace the number and take further action. Phone calls stopped. The second nuisance caller lately has been ringing saying our car has been involved in an accident and we owe money, receiving these are very distressing for any age group. I got 3 in one day so it was time to take action, I rang my telephone provider Telstra and explained the problem and they said they can block any incoming calls from overseas which mainly are mainly coming from the middle east, India and Pakistan were these calls originate. You can have it blocked at any time. They also stated if the calls continued to contact them and they would put a trace on the calls. I hope this helps, it can be very upsetting but there are ways of minimizing it.
22nd Jun 2017
Same old rubbish. Very politically correct photo. No Indians or Asians in there.
23rd Jun 2017
Actually most of my nuisance calls are Australian based charities, medical sprukers, bank financers selling there deals etc.
22nd Jun 2017
the "do not call register" is a complete waste of time. IT DOES NOT WORK.
I usually listen to the caller then if they are foreign talk about where they are and their family and they soon hang up.
My husband always tells the Solar sellers that he is looking for "solar paint" - this gets the telemarketer very excite
22nd Jun 2017
If I receive one more Indian saying he is from Telstra, and try to rip me off, I'll.............................. think of something horrible. Honestly though, what can one do? We are on the Don't Call Register. Yesterday I had 6 six of them.
Joy Anne
22nd Jun 2017
I agree with Spud waste of time trying to stop them. As now they have been calling me from NO CALLER ID number. I answer the phone and find out it is a marketing call or wanting a survey done. They are going through the back door now. I have made a complaint with the DO NOT CALL REGISTER.
22nd Jun 2017
When we used get calls supposedly from Microsoft about a virus problem with a computer and they are there to help fix it. My ex has a very good answer:

He asks 'how something that is so small (Micro) and pliable (soft) get a virus?'

They come back with Windows, his reaction is

'Windows are in walls and are hard and rigid, how can you use them if they are small & pliable'?

He then tells the caller that he uses Linux and doesn't have a computer with a Microsoft product on it.

They get so confused and end the call :)
22nd Jun 2017
I have found a couple of ways to stop them.
1/ I answer the phone, "Hello Sergent Taylor W.......l police speaking, how can I help you?
2/ "Bonjour comme ca va". They usually hang up straight away.
22nd Jun 2017
I didn't answer phone so they left a message that I would be charged with tax fraud if I didn"t call their hot line and I would be arrested.i am on the DO NOT CALL REGISTER-IT DOESN'T STOP THEM CALLING and harassing people
22nd Jun 2017
'No more nuisance calls'! What a pathetic article Leon - where have you been if you thought this advice might work? I'm pretty sure you know too. 'Must do better.'
Liverpool Anne
23rd Jun 2017
telemarketers have sheets of continuous phone numbers which they ring. Unfortunately, even a silent number appears numerically on those sheets, even they cop the calls as well.
I have an answering machine to vet my calls. If they don't leave a message, I don't ring back.
11th Oct 2017
Many Australian companies are now using overseas call centres to make the initial calls. Can an overseas solar company install solar panels at your house? No, it must be an Australian company. To discourage this type of activity I believe the Australian authorities should operate a few "stings". If they get an Australian on the DNC register who receives a call selling a product that has to have an Australian company behind it eg: Solar, swimming pools etc. then they pretend interest and find out who the Australian company is and then dob them in. If such companies copped a $100,000 fine for each offence then the practice would cease almost immediately.
11th Oct 2017
Had a call last week from someone saying they were from Telstra IT and there was a problem with my computer. This was the latest in umpteen dozen computer problem phone calls. When he caller was told I didn't have a computer he became very abusive. Babs

Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

  • Receive our daily enewsletter
  • Enter competitions
  • Comment on articles