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Call for laws banning tele-marketers

Call for laws banning tele-marketers

Marketing Professor Janet Hoek says it is time for New Zealand to follow Australia’s led and pass a law enabling people to ban telephone marketers from calling them at home.

Australia has database of “don’t-call” numbers, which people can list themselves on and tele-marketing companies must refer to before making up their calling lists.

Half a million Australians signed up in the first three days. In the United States, which has a similar database, 120 million phone users have put their numbers on it.

Professor Hoek says it would be surprising if the levels of concern and feelings of annoyance felt by New Zealanders about tele-marketers differed from those evident in Australia and other countries and consumers should have the right to say they do not want such calls.

The Australian law specifically excludes charities, political parties and educational institutions from having to comply with the “don’t call” register. Australian consumer groups argued that charities and political parties ought to be included in the legislation, though felt legitimate research should be exempt.

Although the New Zealand Marketing Association has a Name Removal Register, Professor Hoek notes this is not widely publicised and many consumers would not know of its existence. "Not all telemarketers subscribe to the Marketing Association; this means the Code of Practice does not cover all telemarketing activity, thus it cannot afford full protection to consumers."

She argues that government legislation is necessary to ensure consumers can exert more control over who has access to their phone number. "Government regulation is more visible and the options it creates are better known. In addition, government regulation is pro-active rather than re-active; unlike self-regulation it provides explicit compliance incentives in the form of penalties and, most importantly, it is completely independent, which promotes consumer confidence in the outcomes."


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