Submission to the ACCC regarding ADMA's request for authorisation of a modified Code of Practice

12 September 2003   Robin Whittle   11 Miller St Heidelberg Heights Vic 3081  03 9459 2889    Fax 03 9458 1736

[Apart from this note, what you are reading is my submission verbatim.  Please see this directory here index.html for further submissions - and the parent directory and its parent for the other submssions, general information about the debate, and information on how best, to my mind, to reduce the incidence of telemarketing calls in Australia.]


I am an independent advocate, having been involved in telecommunications privacy since making submissions to, and meeting with, the AUSTEL Privacy Inquiry in 1992.  My work involves technical writing in telecommunications.  I was a member of the CTN (Consumers Telecommunications Network) council for several years in the mid 1990s.  I was one of the advocates who made submissions in 1999 when ADMA originally applied for their Code to be authorised.

My 1999 submissions are at:  and the final version of this submission will be available at this URL.

This submission consists of one HTML page and a number of attachments which I intend the ACCC to also print and consider - and which I will supply in printed form to the ACCC in the next few days.


This submission focuses primarily on the telemarketing aspect of the current and proposed Code, with secondary focus on ADMA's fitness, and the Code's suitability, for consumer protection in direct mail or other forms of direct marketing.

The problems caused by telemarketing - to consumers and businesses - are not primarily due to marketing and sales as such.  The problems are primarily due to repeated, systematic, (typically) large-scale, unauthorised, pernicious and knowingly intrusive use of telecommunications networks, people's telephone services - with all the annoyance and costs this entails.  These problems should be solved by government regulation, not by any self regulatory regime such as ADMA was granted, and is seeking to extend.

Even if it were deemed appropriate that telemarketing be subject to a self-regulatory regime, ADMA should not be the organisation which is given government approval for a Code, because firstly it does not have significant "industry coverage" and secondly it is not the key representative body in outbound telemarketing.

Even if telemarketing and other forms of direct marketing were deemed to be suitable for industry self-regulation, ADMA's record of being hostile to privacy, and its apparent desire to have no relationship with the Australian Teleservices Association of  makes it an unsuitable body to be given this responsibility.

Numerous failings of the Code are highlighted, but these are illustrative of what is wrong with the whole concept of self-regulation of this kind of exploitative "industry".  These are not things which, if fixed, would make the Code acceptable.

The ACCC can only approve codes where there is a shown to be a net positive benefit to consumers (compared to no such approved code) and where that net positive benefit justifies the anti-competitive impact of such an approval.   But it is argued here that the code, at least in respect of telemarketing, if approved, conveys an overall burden on consumers. 

The ACCC is presumably required, either formally or in general pursuit of its consumer protection goals, to only approve a code when it can be shown that the code is as good as it could possibly be.  One way of saying this is that the code should be "worlds best practice".  Worlds-best practice for telemarketing regulation is not based on a self-regulatory model.  This has failed here and in other countries.  In the USA, a centralised government-based opt-out system has been implemented, with tremendously high participation rates.  Realistic calculations below indicate that the US scheme is at least 400 times more effective at stopping calls per targetted person than ADMA's, irrespective of the general frequency of calls in each country.  The US scheme has a 43 times greater participation rate in its opt-out list - and it applies to all telemarketers, whereas ADMA's applies to 10% or less.

While the US scheme falls somewhat short of the ideal regulatory scheme, it is vastly better than any self-regulatory scheme or anything ADMA would willingly accept.  Similarly Europe has adopted government regulation, Australia is poised to use legislative measures to govern email on an opt-in basis, and even ADMA has accepted that mobile marketing must only take place on an opt-in basis.

The ACCC should refuse to approve any code of self-regulation regarding telemarketing at all, especially with ADMA.  Telemarketing and other systematic intrusive misuse of telecommunications networks should be subject to centralised federal government regulation.

The Nature of the Telemarketing Problem

ADMA portray the systematic making of millions of unwanted, intrusive, phone calls as an acceptable marketing practice.  It is not and never has been acceptable to the vast majority of residential and business telephone customers.

The vast majority of recipients of these calls find them annoying, perplexing, privacy invasive, insulting and/or a burden in other ways.   If ADMA or anyone else argues that outbound telemarketing is generally or even to a moderate extent acceptable to consumers, or businesses, then they should propose that it only take place on an opt-in basis.

Outbound telemarketing places a variety of burdens on consumers, on businesses (and therefore on consumers through increased business costs) and on society in general.  Outbound telemarketing has absolutely no advantage for the recipient over the wide variety of non-intrusive advertising techniques (print, radio, TV) or over traditional non-intrusive, respectful, ways of doing business in which the customer initiates contact with the vendor when he or she desires to make a purchase.

Outbound telemarketing is expensive, but getting cheaper due to these developments which will surely lead to a greater burden on consumers and business unless the practice is properly regulated:
  1. Decreased costs of placing local telephone calls and calls to mobiles.

  2. Decreased costs of making calls from distant places, via various telephone links or via Voice over IP (VoIP - calls carried partly or wholly on the Internet or some other TCP/IP packet-switched network).  This enables call centres to be more centralised, including them being located in a remote low-labour-cost country.

  3. Decreased costs of long distance and international calls.

  4. Decreased costs of using computers to dial numbers, manage calls and keep operators busy.  (Such "Predictive Dialling" systems make more calls than operators can answer, and burden the recipient in two ways when this occurs.  Firstly they may end the call before it is answered - only to call again later.  Secondly, upon answering, the hapless recipient hears a recorded voice instructing them to wait for an operator to be available with an "important message".  The use of such predictive diallers should be regulated as a telecommunications matter, it is a question of deliberate widespread misuse of the network and the recipient's telephone service.  This is not a privacy or marketing matter at all.)

  5. Increased tendency to use pre-recorded or partially automated, and therefore lower cost, methods of making the call.

  6. Increased sophistication of computer technology to place calls in ways which get around recipients attempts to defend themselves.  In one report (sorry, I don't have the reference now - but I will add it to my site) in the USA, telemarketers have developed automated calling systems which end the call as soon as a live person answers, but persist and leave messages when an answering machine or voice-mail system answers the call.

The prevalence of an unwanted, pernicious, intrusive marketing technique is proportional to its success rate and inversely proportional to its cost.  Spam emails have exceptionally low costs and it is not uncommon for a single address to receive 40 a day at present, despite their low success rate which is probably below one in a million at present.   All lowering of costs, and all uses of new technology in outbound telemarketing will drive its more widespread use, until proper regulations are enforced. 

The burden placed on consumers (and business recipients) has many dimensions.  It should not be necessary to list these exhaustively - for several reasons. 

Firstly, all ACCC members should be well aware of the problem this causes, unless perhaps they have been shielded in recent years by unlisted numbers at home.  Also, I expect that telemarketers don't target the ACCC as much as they target businesses and other organisations, who are plagued with calls and trickery to try to bypass the defensive measures put in place to stop these calls wasting the time of decision-makers.

Secondly, outbound telemarketing has no benefits for recipients over a variety of well accepted non-intrusive marketing/sales techniques.  So even if the burden it placed on consumers, business and society in general was small, the conclusion would be the same - it must be regulated to prevent these costs being borne, except by those very few companies or individuals who for some reason explicitly consent to receiving such calls on an opt-in basis.

Nonetheless, here is a summary of some of the burdens outbound telemarketing places on society.  Other forms of intrusive systematically made unwanted telephone calls create similar burdens - market research calls and malicious calls (harassing, threatening or offensive, as per Section 85ZE of the Commonwealth Crimes Act).  

Some proponents of outbound telemarketing draw a distinction between "charity" calls and sales calls - but this usually of no importance to the persons who must be protected (consumers and businesses) because they simply do not want any such sales (or often survey) calls at all irrespective of whether they are thought to be commercial or charity by the caller.  

Some burdens imposed by outbound telemarketing include:
  1. Disruptions, wasted time, frustration and annoyance at home and at work, on a massive scale nationally, at almost any time of the day or evening - with little or no chance of using personal defences to avoid such calls.

  2. Tying up a person's telephone line with an unwanted call.

  3. Interrupting an existing call (via call waiting) for the unwanted telemarketing call.

  4. The necessity (for most people who prefer to be pleasant) of trying to get rid of an unwanted caller who is trained and experienced at avoiding all such attempts to end the call.   Thus the recipient is thrown into a contorted, deceptive, psychological situation where they are trying to get a trained, paid, professional  manipulator to end the call, without being unpleasant and without violating standards of decency the recipient would prefer to uphold.  Callers often use every possible means to twist the recipient's mind into listening to their spiel, especially be deliberately misconstruing or ignoring the recipient's polite rejections.   The result is that the best way, as most people discover, to get rid of telemarketers is to be abrupt and unpleasant (such as hanging up without a word, or with few words) or to be actively unpleasant in the hope of contributing to job stress, costs for employers and so, in a lasting sense, to an overall reduction of the incidence of outbound telemarketing. 

  5. The common experience by many people - whoever answers the phone - of being talked to in a supposedly pleasant and supposedly polite manner, for purposes of manipulating them into doing something they do not want to do.  Callers often insist they are not selling anything, and that they are making a "courtesy call" - but this is deliberately deceptive and gives the recipient little alternative but to either end the call abruptly, or engage in an argument about the nature of the call, which the caller is trained to exploit as a means of delivering their marketing message.

  6. The constant, unpredictable, privacy invasions at home, or on mobiles, by which recipients stop what they are doing, answer the phone expecting a friend or a customer, and find themselves wasting their time talking to, and trying to get rid of, a person who cares nothing for them and only wants to get their attention and money, despite all the caller's pretences to politeness, "courtesy" etc.

  7. The pressure of unwanted calls, often resulting from aggressive repurposing of the contents of the White Pages (which Telstra has consistently opposed in the courts), causes many people (but usually not businesses, who must be in the directory to do business) to pay substantial fees each year for an unlisted number (known in Australia by the anachronistic term of "silent line" and overseas as "ex-directory" or "unlisted" numbers).   This is an economic burden for millions of Australians, amounting to costs in the dozens of millions of dollars per year.  This is a small indication of how much people value their peace and quiet - that they would go to the trouble and the recurring expense to get their name and number out of the directory.   There are further costs to the people themselves, to their friends and to society in general from this trend towards having an unlisted number.  It causes friends from the past to be unable to find each other as people move and change their addresses.  It causes extra costs to phone company enquiry lines - which is the supposed justification for charging $32 or so (I haven't researched the actual fee recently).  It greatly inhibits the ability of individuals, helping professionals and officials to contact people in times of accident or emergencies.   I have not researched current figures for ex-directory numbers in Australia or the USA, but I recall in the mid 1990s it was well above 50% in California.  The pressure for going ex-directory is almost entirely due to the problems of outbound telemarketing calls - but some proportion of the population would want to be ex-directory for other privacy reasons as well.

    The ACCC should ask Telstra the annual cost of the "silent line" service and how many customers currently pay for this.  Multiplying the two together gives a dollar cost to the community which is very largely due to the burden of telemarketing on the community, and which represents only a fraction of the many concrete and diffuse costs and other burdens the public has to pay for this pernicious business practice.

  8. In the USA, where many people at home are subject to two or three telemarketing calls a night, for years after year, this must contribute significantly to the level of angst, and generalised levels of distrust of strangers.  (It would also exacerbate the suffering of people with depression, mood disorders and the like.) This, along with the prevalence of guns and violence, is a significant contributor to the generalised lower levels of trust for strangers in the USA compared to Australia.   Every outbound telemarketing call in Australia degrades our collective ability and propensity to trust and be happy.  So outbound telemarketing, especially as it rises towards the extreme levels it has in the USA, is a powerful cause of the irrevocable destruction of one thing which Australia is rightly well-known for - our generalised trust for strangers, otherwise known as our happy "national character".   It is a travesty that a pernicious marketing technique should be allowed to invade the lives of most citizens and systematically destroy our trust in fellow Australians who we don't know, forcing us to be more defensive about answering the phone, and damaging our "national character".  The destruction or diminution of this "national character" has important economic impacts in tourism and more broadly in our ability to export food and other goods and services where the subjective judgement as to the product's quality and value is partly dependent on the nature of the people and society which produce it.   It follows that any country which successfully protects its citizens (at home and at work) from the time-wasting and character-embittering effects of outbound telemarketing will enjoy greater domestic happiness, lower levels of stress-induced illness, greater productivity and will be internationally recognised, explicitly and by flow-on effects, as a country where respect, quality and decency are thriving.

  9. Market research via telephone is not always of any social value (such as merely testing the impact of an advertising campaign) - but it can be of immense social value (for governments, community organisations and social researchers), and the alternative forms or contact are either much more expensive (face-to-face interviews) or have such a low response rate (surveys by mail or the Web) that their results are of little or no quantitative value.   Some or many people are prepared to respond positively to market research calls, assuming that these are genuine calls for matters of interest to the person, and that they are conducted according to internationally recognised standards as has long been developed by the market research industry.  Market research telephone calls are a unique, cost-effective and timely approach to market research - but their effectiveness is greatly diminished by the pressure of telemarketing.  This has long been recognised in the market research industry (I have some references, but it is self-evident), to the point where this, the most widely used form of market research, is becoming increasingly useless due to low response rates.  The cause is firstly the high incidence of ordinary telemarketing calls, leaving people with no interest at all in why they are being called - just an urgent desire to end the call and ensure they are never called again.  The second cause is the subset of outbound telemarketers who are "SUGgers" - Selling Under the Guise of market research.   SUGging is a trades-practice and marketing regulation issue, embodied within an unwanted intrusive telecommunications issue.  Theoretically SUGging might be effectively eradicated by some regulatory means - though almost certainly not a self-regulatory one, since the callers who use these deceptive techniques would not want to join any such self-regulatory industry body.  As long as telemarketing is not properly regulated as a telecommunications problem, SUGing will continue.  Any level of telemarketing, and SUGging in particular, seriously burdens the market research industry, as well as the recipients of these calls.  Telephone market research is a vital and irreplaceable avenue for a wide range of socially valuable research.  The only way of saving the value of telephone market research is to properly regulate telemarketing - with centralised government regulations.

There are some specific problems with telemarketing from a consumer protection perceptive which do not relate to its central problem of being an intrusive misuse of the recipient's phone service.

Telemarketing-specific consumer protection issues

 Direct marketing sales involve a number of systemic problems for recipients/customers.  These include the way customers are prompted into making decisions about purchases when they least expect it, with the possibility that they will therefore make a decision they later regret.  ADMA's code and other state regulations try to deal with these problems with cooling off periods etc.  

But there is another systemic problem with outbound telemarketing which is not at all subject to regulation - the fact that any level of officially sanctioned telemarketing is an encouragement to people in general to divulge personal information to anyone who calls them.   One would think that far from allowing outbound telemarketing as if it was a reasonable business practice, that there should be a complete ban on this approach to selling or soliciting donations and/or a public awareness program to warn all business people and consumers never to divulge information to people who contact them by phone.

The following discussion uses the example of the person's credit card details, but applies in general to absolutely anything they divulge about themselves in the course of responding to a call which to them, appears to be an outbound telemarketing call.

In an ideal world, outbound telemarketing would be banned outright, with the possible exception of an infinitesimally small number of people who opted in, after they had been warned of all the risks, of whom it could be shown were not certifiably insane, and who had made a fully informed explicit decision.

As long as outbound telemarketing remains an officially or socially "accepted practice" (even though the vast majority of people do not respond positively) then there is a generalised situation in which some, or many, people have the following expectations:
  1. It is common, and officially accepted, that legitimate businesses, charities (and so-called charities, such as businesses licensing charity's names for a tiny percentage of the proceeds of the sales/"donations") will call businesses and homes, requesting information about recipient's living situation, desires, plans etc. and making sales, or taking donations, typically involving the recipient giving their full credit card details.

  2. That recipients of such calls should take on face value what they are told by the caller.

  3. That since this is an officially sanctioned or tolerated business practice (as it currently is due to lack of regulation and due to the ACCC's approval of ADMA's Code) that there is some form of safety in this sort of communication, and that there are ways by which the recipient will be generally protected by the law (or perhaps some self-regulatory scheme) in the event that the caller misuses the information divulged to them.

In the current situation, where these things are generally accepted by some or many people, then some of them will naturally divulge personal details to whoever calls them and convinces them of their bona-fides.   Its easy to imagine this being used for criminal purposes, and for stretching or breaching standards of good business practice.   No degree of self-regulation can prevent this.  Furthermore, even firm government regulation of telemarketing - any situation in which outbound telemarketing is accepted by the government as a legitimate practice - will foster the above beliefs in the minds of millions of consumers, without being able to prevent criminals from duping consumers.

In the above environment, criminals can easily convince many people that the caller is a company or "charity" the recipient may or may not have heard of.   Also, the criminal could be outside Australia, and so not in the slightest subject to Australian laws, or probably any (currently lacking) ability of the telecommunications carrier to retrospectively trace the origin of the call.   Here are some scenarios which demonstrate that any public acceptance of outbound telemarketing as a legitimate business practice will inevitably lead to criminals taking great advantage of consumers.

Other branches of the ACCC would be well aware of the many ways in which people can be duped via telephone.   The point is that these criminal abuses  only possible on a large scale in an environment when there is a generalised expectation that outbound telemarketing is a legitimate business practice.

There is no way of successfully regulating to prevent these abuses.  The only way to reduce or eliminate them is to either ban outbound telemarketing (except perhaps for a tiny number of well-informed people who opt-in to it), or to allow it to continue, with a public awareness campaign which urges people never to divulge any personal information to anyone who calls them - but to do so only after calling a number which the caller may point them to, but which can be know for sure, (such as via the White Pages) as belonging to a legitimate organisation which is known to and regulated by the appropriate government regulatory agency.   This is fine in principle - and somewhat inconvenient in practice.  But it would be anathema to telemarketers is because the sole reason they persist with outbound telemarketing is because of its surprise effect, its manipulative power over some people - its ability to cajole some people into paying money without much further thought.  A lot of that manipulative power would be destroyed if all recipients were required to end the call and call some number, after verifying that it was to a legitimate organisation.  This would give them time to reflect upon what they had just been talked into, and time to get back to whatever they were interrupted from doing - so ending the attention-focussing manipulative spell of the telemarketer before the sale or donation has been finalised.

The elimination of outbound telemarketing as an accepted business practice is the only way to prevent a large number of potential and actual criminal and fraudulent misuses of consumers' private information, especially their credit cards.

Far from being regulated and approved by the ACCC, outbound telemarketing should be banned or tolerated only once the public is fully informed of the dangers it involves.

Charities and outbound telemarketing

A small number of legitimate charities use outbound telemarketing directly to raise funds.   There are a number of reasons why this should be discouraged.  Firstly, as noted above, it conditions people into giving their credit card details to people they do not know, and have no way of identifying, since telephone calls have no way, at the time, of being traced and shown to originate from a legitimate organisation. 

Secondly, the charity use of outbound telemarketing involves several pernicious costs which are contrary to the needs and expectations of the public, and of charities in general.   These costs and problems include:
  1. The cost of unwanted intrusive phone calls which is forced upon the public in general (unless the charity only calls those who have previously given their informed consent).   It makes no difference how needy or worthy a charity is - this can be no justification for burdening individuals or businesses, or hundreds of thousands of individuals or businesses, as listed above in the discussion of the general problems of telemarketing.

  2. The high costs, in phone calls, call-centre capital and running costs and labour costs, of making the vast numbers of outbound calls.  This inevitably greatly diminishes the proportion of funds collected which remain after costs for the intended purpose of funding the charity's core activities.  (There is a fair-trading problem here in that potential donors are not told what proportion of their payment actually goes to the charity - and also that there seems to be no compulsion for them to be told the caller is a business licensing the name of the charity, rather than the charity themselves.  These problems would be insignificant if calls were made only to the small number of people who would knowingly opt-in to them. )

  3. The resulting fatigue of potential donors caused by repeated calls from a specific charity, or charities in general.  This transforms the charity from an organisation which should be, and wants to, contribute to society into a privacy invasive, manipulative time-waster which has to try to make a profit in a low-efficiency, high-cost relationship with the public and its donor base.

There are further costs and problems inherent in the common practice of a legitimate charity (or even an organisation such as a public radio station, which is not a charity, but may be perceived as one by the public) licensing its name to a commercial outbound telemarketer, which solicits donations, sells "gifts" or sells "discount cards" (for $90 or so) on behalf of the charity.   Very often, the caller pretends to be from the charity itself, and the recipient has no way of knowing that only a small proportion of the gift sale, or "donation", goes to the charity.   As I wrote in 1999 :

I recently (1995) talked to a telemarketing company which licensed the
name of a teenage cancer charity (CanTeen) and sold a pen and letter
opener set for a $39.95 "donation" - with an invoice from the charity. 
There was no mention in the call or the paperwork that any other
organisation than the charity was involved, and yet the telemarketing
supervisor confirmed (without apparent shame) that only $2 of that
$39.95 goes to the charity.

The general donor fatigue caused by legitimate charities telemarketing the public, plus the knowledge that charities (at least some of them) care so little about the public that they will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars making such calls, is greatly compounded by the commercial licensees of charity names - who further wear out the public and give them less and less confidence that a substantial proportion of their "donation" ever goes to the charitable cause.

Some of the issues here are more properly covered by trades-practice and charity-specific regulations, since they are not specific to direct marketing.  However direct-marketing techniques of telemarketing, door-to-door sales and direct mail (as well as potentially email or SMS etc.) significantly exacerbate the problem, firstly by the charities and pseudo-charities (the commercial licensees) spending so much money invading peoples privacy, and secondly because these direct-marketing arrangements provide people with greatly diminished opportunities to think carefully about their "donation" or to check the bona-fides of whoever they are being urged to give their money to.

As with sales, "charity" telemarketing has no benefits for recipients over other non-intrusive methods of making donations.

These problems can and should be solved by centralised government regulation in the domains of telecommunications, charity and direct marketing.  A self-regulatory scheme such as ADMA's has no real impact, because any charity or commercial licensee who would be restricted by ADMA's Code would be better off not joining ADMA.

Regulating telemarketing

While outbound telemarketing does have some unique problems in the event that a sale or "donation" takes place, the real problem is that it happens at all (unless to the minuscule number of people who would make an informed and unpressured choice to opt-in to such calls).

Outbound telemarketing is primarily a telecommunications issue.  It is the systematic misuse of people's telephone services, in circumstances where potentially millions of people are called - in all but a few cases, contrary to the desire of those recipients.

As such, neither the ACCC nor ADMA should have any role in regulating this particular aspect of the unwanted call problem.  It is a telecommunications problem and it should be regulated appropriately by the federal government.   Ideally this should be as part of a generalised prohibition of systematic abuses of the telephone network and individual and business telephone services, extending the currently narrow criminal provisions (85ZE: harassing, threatening or, in all the circumstances, offensive). 

This regulation should be generalised in principle and apply as evenly as possible to email, phone calls, instant messenger, ICQ etc. as well as to SMS and other point-to-point technologies which are yet to be developed.

The problem with the current arrangement of an ACCC approved Code for ADMA as the government sanctioned regulator of the "telemarketing industry" is that it provides zero or negative benefits ot the public (both consumers and business) whilst giving the impression that:
  1. Outbound telemarketing is properly regulated.

  2. That it is a legitimate practice for businesses and charities.

I believe the ACCC should refuse to approve any Code proposed by ADMA (or any other body) which concerns telemarketing.  The reasons above are more than sufficient to show why telemarketing should not be be subject to any legitimising weak self-regulatory regime, and why it should be subject to centralised, hard, telecomunications-specific government regulation.   Even if the ACCC rejects all the above, additional considerations detailed below show why ADMA should not be entrusted with the regulation of telemarketing, and perhaps any matter concerning consumers' privacy at all.

Worlds best practice in email and mobile marketing regulation

In June 2003, the Australian Government has promised to regulate unsolicited commercial email on an opt-in basis, via legislation, except where the recipient was in an existing business relationship with the sender:

This follows an NOIE report into the spam problem, in April 2003.  This includes details of the European Union, Austrian and Danish opt-in legislation.

The Danish legislation of 2000 (as amended to 2003), provides opt-in arrangements (or an existing business arrangement) for email, fax and "automatically dialled" phone calls (section 3).  There is also a government-operated opt-out list, with no mention of charges to access that list:

(There may be some definitional problems in whether "automatic dialling" refers to any non-manual dialling system, as is used by moderate and large-scale telemarketers - which it probably does - and whether the following "automated calling machines" only refers to systems with no human involvement.)

The European Union legislated in 2002 for opt-in regulation of email and other forms of communication.

DIRECTIVE 2002/58/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)

(40) Safeguards should be provided for subscribers against
intrusion of their privacy by unsolicited communications
for direct marketing purposes in particular by means of
automated calling machines, telefaxes, and e-mails,
including SMS messages. These forms of unsolicited
commercial communications may on the one hand be
relatively easy and cheap to send and on the other may
impose a burden and/or cost on the recipient. Moreover,
in some cases their volume may also cause difficulties
for electronic communications networks and terminal
equipment. For such forms of unsolicited communications
for direct marketing, it is justified to require that
prior explicit consent of the recipients is obtained before
such communications are addressed to them. The single
market requires a harmonised approach to ensure
simple, Community-wide rules for businesses and users.

The European Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email has an extensive listing of regulations regarding email and sometimes other forms of unsolicited communications.  A number of countries are listed as having opt-in legislation.

The state of California regulated unsolicited commercial email, telephone, mobile and fax communications.  This legislated opt-in approach is contained in three bills which can be found via the search page: by selecting the 2001-2002 session and three bill numbers listed below.  Also listed is a brief description and the URL of the final Act:

SB 1560

Attorney General's department to maintain do-not-call list and distribute it with appropriate conditions, in the form of numbers and zip codes only.  (As noted below this list of 1,550,644 numbers has been added to the new US national do-not-call list.)  The list is made available with a sliding scale of fees depending on size or telemarketing company.

AB 1769

Legislated opt-in for SMS spam and other marketing messages to mobile devices.

"This bill would, subject to certain exceptions, generally prohibit a
person or entity conducting business in this state from transmitting
or causing to be transmitted a text message advertisement to a
cellular telephone or pager equipped with short message or a
similar capability.  By creating a new crime, the bill would impose
a state-mandated local program." 

The main exceptions seem to be charities and political parties, since it relates only to promotion of "sales".  Messages to recipients who already have a business relationship with the sender are exempted

AB 2944

Bans unsolicited commercial emails unless there is a valid email address or toll-free number with which to opt-out - in the first text section of the message.  "ADV:" and "ADV:ADLT" to be at the start of the subject line.  Employers can opt-out for all email addresses in their organisation. Act to become inoperative when federal legislation to prohibit or otherwise regulate unsolicited commercial email (UCE) is enacted.


Worlds best practice in telemarketing regulation

I have not had time to research in detail the latest telemarketing regulation regimes in European countries.  While worlds best practice is not necessarily defined by the new arrangements in the USA, these arrangements, described in the next section, should be examined closely by the ACCC in assessing ADMA's application.

I have written in the past on how some phone companies in the USA implement "Customer Activated Malicious Call Trace" - the ability, for a small fee, to have any incoming call traced after it has ended, with the number being available only to the Police and/or phone company or telecommunications authority inspectors.  This material has not been updated in recent years, but as far as I am aware, no progress at all has been made towards this in Australia since I wrote it:

For a variety of reasons well beyond proper regulation of telemarketing, it is vital that this be made a standard feature of all Australian telephone services - fixed and mobile.   Without this, hoax calls, including potentially hugely costly and disruptive bomb threats, can be made with impunity.

There is no jurisdiction I am aware of which has a really solid regulatory arrangement for all forms of systematically made unwanted calls, and for other such abuses of the phone networks and Internet, and the services which are connected to them.

However there has been a major step in the right direction in the USA, at least for telemarketing, which accounts for the vast majority of the invasive unwanted call problem.

Self-regulation and state-wide opt-out lists were found to be insufficient to deal with the burden imposed on the public by outbound telemarketers.  The USA suffers a higher incidence of calls than we do in Australia, due in part to the fact that local calls are free.   But as telecommunications costs and technologies change, there is no reason for complacency in Australia - there is every reason why the telemarketing pressure will increase to the levels of several calls a day that it has in the USA. 

The primary reason citizens create, support and pay for governments is to create a centralised system for protecting some or all citizens from things they cannot protect themselves from individually. 

An in-principle and case-by-case study of this - and those aspects of life in which the government should not be involved - is in my 1998 submission to the Senate Select Committee on Information Technologies: Inquiry into Self-Regulation and the Information and Communications Industry:

An adult citizen can individually protect himself or herself quite adequately, and much better than a government could, from various threats and inconveniences, such as the problem of seeing or hearing things which they find distasteful or disturbing in the books, magazines,  newspapers, radio, television and Web-sites they read, listen to or view.  (But governments bent on social control sometimes pretend otherwise.)  Citizens individually, or as small communities, cannot protect themselves against a number of more diffuse and serious invasive threats, including burglary and assault by local criminals, from attacks by terrorists, and from the entire country being invaded by foreign forces.  These are primary reasons why people expect, demand and depend on government protection.   Likewise, citizens expect governments to systematically work to control threats of disease, flood, fire etc. which they cannot individually defend themselves against.   Outbound telemarketing and other systematic kinds of unwanted telephone calls are threats and inconveniences which people have no way of protecting themselves from, due to the very limited capabilities of their phone, and the very limited nature of its connection to the telephone network.  (The situation is quite different in the case of the Internet, where the customer equipment is a computer, which can run software which communicates with any other computer on the Net - so it is possible, if tricky, to build very good personal defences against spam.  However, spam still should, in my view, be subject to some government regulation, since it is a systematic abuse of the network and of people's Internet services.)

Since the 1980s or so, there has been a fashion in administration and politics for governments getting out of regulating industries and protecting citizens.  The current overall policy in Australia which gives rise to these ACCC-approved Codes is part of that trend.  In some cases, where the industry body and the industry participants are of good character and have a genuine desire to respect the needs and desires of the public, a self-regulatory approach is good or ideal.   But this is not the case with the intrusive communications of spammers or outbound telemarketers. 

The experiment of self-regulation in outbound telemarketing has failed, here and overseas (as far as I am aware).  Certainly in the USA, it has failed.  It takes a lot go get a government, especially the Bush administration, to increase or instigate government regulation of business to protect consumers.  But this is what has happened, because the long experiment with weaker forms of telemarketing regulation has failed.

We advocates consistently argued against self-regulation for telemarketing in 1999 and many of us argued against ADMA having any self-regulatory role, based on our past experience - and our experience at the time - with this organisation, which has consistently tried to minimise privacy protection for Australians.

So the ACCC should look closely at the US development, where these self- and state-based regulatory experiments have been tried, because they failed there for the same reason they fail here:  Outbound telemarketing is inherently a privacy invasive business practice.  Proper regulation involves ending this business practice entirely, except for whatever small number of individuals would knowingly opt-in to receiving such calls.  Therefore, asking an industry to self regulate itself is like asking a burglar to never burgle again.  It is entirely unrealistic to think that ADMA, or any group which is genuinely representative of telemarketers (which ADMA is not), could ever regulate telemarketing properly, because to do so would virtually eliminate the practice by which they earn their living.

The new arrangements in the USA are far from ideal, because of the various types of call, such as from political parties, which escape regulation.  But this is an important and long-overdue step in the right direction, because it is centralised government regulation, with real harsh penalties, imposed by the government, on a national basis.

The ACCC should refuse to authorise ADMA as a regulator of telemarketing and so enable this problem to be regulated properly, following the lead of the USA, the EU and some European countries.

The US National Do Not Call Registry

This is operated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and will be enforced by these two agencies, and state law enforcement officials.   This national, strongly enforced, opt-out system is the product of many years deliberation.  The key pages for regulatory decisions and rules are:

This greatly extends the FCC's relatively weak regime established in 1992, and shows that the US public and government have no faith at all in direct marketer's desire to self-regulate outbound telemarketing.

The sites for consumers and telemarketers are:

The FAQ says:

The registry was created to offer consumers a choice regarding telemarketing calls. The FTC’s decision to create the National Do Not Call Registry was the culmination of a comprehensive, three year review of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, as well as the Commission’s extensive experience enforcing the Rule over seven years. The FTC held numerous workshops, meetings and briefings to solicit feedback from interested parties and considered over 64,000 public comments, most of which favored creating the registry.

Scaling to Australia's population, this would be about 5,000 submissions. 

This current ACCC consideration of ADMA's Code has received no publicity, and will primarily draw submissions from a handful of advocates and consumer organisations.  But the ACCC might like to consider that in principle, if not yet in intensity, the US situation is identical to the Australian one, and that with proper consultation with the public, 5,000 or so submissions would be received, the vast majority opposing self regulation and calling for an urgent government regulatory response at least as robust as that adopted in the USA.

Rather than entrust the opt-out list to a "self-regulatory body" (the US DMA has long had such an opt-out list), the regulations establish a body under government auspices to operate the list.  This means that consumers can have far greater confidence in their information being handled properly.  (See below  for the problems inherent in ADMA's approach.)  Most of the 27 state-based do-not-call lists have been or will be transferred to the federal system.

Enforcement is hard rather than the weak or non-existent sanctions of a self-regulatory regime.  Telemarketers who break the new rules can be fined USD$11,000 for each call.

The FTC, in a press-release: stated:

For Release:  September 2, 2003

DO NOT CALL Registry Jumps To 48.4 Million

Six Million Consumers Register During Labor Day Weekend

In the 72 hours before the Do Not Call Registry became available to telemarketers, more than six million consumers added their telephone numbers to the list. In contrast to earlier DNC registrations that were completed primarily through Internet registration (80%), the Labor Day weekend registrations were more evenly divided with about fifty percent Internet registrations and fifty percent telephone registrations.

A table of state-by-state details, as at 25 August: shows 41,717,790 registered numbers, of which 14 state lists contributed 9,033,751 and the remainder being the result of individuals registering by:
With six million numbers being added in the week before the cutoff date for commencement of the regulations on 1 October, it can be seen that there is a tremendously positive public response, with the likelihood of tens of millions of numbers still to be added.  (ADMA's response to its opt-out list is shown below to be about 1/43 as successful after two years as the initial phase of the US system.)

Predictably, the telemarketing representative organisations are unhappy about genuine government protection of consumers.  A 2 September report at reports two lawsuits against the government Commissions:

30,000 an hour
During the first 66 days, consumers registered to block telemarketing calls at an average rate of 733,333 phone numbers a day -- or more than 30,000 an hour. Those numbers do not include an additional 9 million phone numbers transferred into the federal list from existing state do-not-call lists.

Because the Registry keeps track only of phone numbers and not households, it is not known exactly how many individual households have taken advantage of the new anti-telemarketing system. There are approximately 105 million U.S. households.

Both the FTC and the American Teleservices Association declined to estimate the number of individual households involved with the 48.4 million phone numbers registered to date.

The teleservices association, which represents companies that sell by telephone, and the Direct Marketing Association have filed lawsuits challenging the FTC and Federal Communications Commission rules that established do-not-call lists. A judge has scheduled a hearing on the ATA's lawsuit for Sept. 12.

At the highly regarded site of ex-patriate Australian, Jason Catlett, reports on how the two Commissions worked together and reduced the number of exceptions to the new system (2003-9-9):

(26 June) The FCC's co-ordination is significant because the FTC does not have statutory authority over two of the largest industries that use telemarketing, telecommunications and financial services. Junkbusters President Jason Catlett commented:
With the FCC's cooperation, the Do-Not-Call registry will
have the breadth and clout to eliminate most of the nation's
junk calls. Aluminum siding installers may be weeping,
but the 99%+ of Americans who are not employed to pester
people by long distance calls can rejoice. The registry is
surely one of the most significant consumer protection
measures ever implemented by the federal government.

It will save the equivalent of thousands of lifetimes wasted
picking up the phone on unwanted calls. The FCC was late
for the party that they should have thrown a decade ago,
but they have now said, a weekend in advance, that they'll
come to the ball with the FTC. American consumers who
hear about it will be in such a rush to register that they may
not think to ask why their interests were disregarded the
FCC for so long. FTC Chairman Muris will go down in the
history of consumer protection as the savior of the
American dinnertime.
The FCC commisioners' vote was unanimous, some of them called the plan the "best thing" the FCC has ever done. Junkbusters President Jason Catlett commented that it was indeed the best thing the FCC has ever gone along with.

The main recent political battle had been in the House. [Washington Post] (2/13, p. E7) The Wall Street Journal recounted the heroic efforts of FTC chairman Muris to save the project from the underhanded lobbying of the Direct Marketing Association. (4/4)

The National Do Not Call Registry only publishes numbers - it does not link those numbers to any other information.  In contrast, the ADMA list involves distributing each person's full name, address and telephone number to all companies (ADMA members and non-members) who pay for it, which has completely intolerable privacy implications for many or most people. 

The National Do Not Call Registry makes lists of numbers available, by area code or for the entire country (depending on the subscription arrangement) so that telemarketers can remove these numbers from their lists.  As described at these are text or XML (a highly structured form of text) as compressed zip files, via FTP over the Net.  Update files are also produced, so that it is not necessary to regularly download the entire file to stay up-to-date. 

There is also a web-based interactive approach to checking numbers which involves no lists or data-processing - up to 10 numbers at a time, in one area code, can be checked via an ordinary Web browser session.

More information for telemarketers can be found at: .

According to

Data for up to five area codes will be available for free.
Beyond that, there is an annual fee of $25 per area code
of data, with a maximum annual fee of $7,375 for the
entire U.S. database.

An explanation of how to comply with the TSR (Telemarketing Sales Rule) is at: . In contrast with fashions still prevailing in Australia, this 38 page document constitutes detailed and prescriptive government regulation of business, in order to protect consumers in a field where they cannot individually or collectively protect themselves.  This US Federal Trade Commission document is an attachment to this submission and I ask that the ACCC scrutinize it and compare it to ADMA's proposal.  I don't have time to exhaustively compare the two, but it is clear that ADMA's proposal falls well short of Worlds Best Practice, in principle (self-regulatory vs. government regulation) and in many specific details.

These rules concern the sales and information privacy aspects of telemarketing calls, including inbound calls - where other marketing material encourages a potential customer to call a number in order to purchase goods or services.  So this goes well beyond the question of unwanted calls, and into the consumer protection aspects of direct marketing.

The rules, in general, do not apply to charities or political organisations.  The exemptions are summarised at a site with a name similar to, but with a .com, rather than .gov, to the Do Not Call site: :

The Loopholes

Exempt under FTC rules but included under FCC rules:

FCC is trying to add exemption for Radio and TV station calls.  They claims calls telling people to watch or tune in are somehow not an advertisement!

The rules do not generally apply to calls directed at businesses, but there are specific, and quite important instances in which the rules do protect businesses from the constant pressure of sales calls regarding fax rolls, cleaning supplies etc.  From the explanation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule :

Business-to-Business Calls, Unless They Involve the Sale of Nondurable Office or Cleaning Supplies

Most phone calls between a telemarketer and a business are exempt from the Rule. But business-to-business calls to induce the retail sale of nondurable office or cleaning supplies are covered. Examples of nondurable office or cleaning supplies include paper, pencils, solvents, copying machine toner, and ink – in short, anything that, when used, is depleted, and must be replaced. Such goods as software, computer disks, copiers, computers, mops, and buckets are considered durable because they can be used again.

The abovementioned document is the short, informal, version.  The formal document is a 101 page PDF:

Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 310
Telemarketing Sales Rule; Final Rule

This Final Rule document is also an attachment to this submission.  I ask the ACCC to cast their eye over it, since it contains reasoning behind the Federal Trade Commission's decision, and is indicative of the importance and complexity of proper regulation of outbound telemarketing.

The final decision on fees for telemarketer access to the list contains some estimates of the numbers of telemarketers in the USA:

Strengths and limitations of the US approach

Ideally, outbound telemarketing would be banned, except to those those who give explicit, informed and unpressured consent.

Failing that, an opt-out system seems to be the best solution - but since the majority of people, at home and business, want to opt out, it seems quite ridiculous to have to maintain such a large list, rather than the much smaller list of those who actually find the practice acceptable.

The ideal way to run an opt-out system is something I explored in detail in my 1992 submissions to the AUSTEL Privacy Inquiry. 

Ideally, there should be no publishing or release of numbers at all.  Instead, telemarketers (or any marketer for some other form of do-not-contact list) should submit their numbers for scrutiny and have the list operator respond with a Yes / No for each number.  This is easy to do with database files, submitted via the Net, and it can also be done with trivially easy programming for one number at a time queries for both telemarketer staff using a browser manually, and for telemarketer software doing real-time checks on numbers just before making calls. 

The privacy problems of releasing numbers linked to names and/or addresses are completely insurmountable - but this is what ADMA wants ACCC approval for.  Virtually no person who values their privacy can tolerate such linked data being distributed in ways they cannot control - and there is no way at all that ADMA can prevent their list falling into the hands of untrustworthy people.  Privacy is not a luxury, it is a right and for people who are trying to keep themselves safe from abusers, or in the case of public figures just trying to keep themselves safely and sanely out of the public gaze, it is an essential of life.  For instance, its is impossible to imagine Bob Hawke giving his name, address and phone numbers to ADMA.

The US system works primarily by distributing numbers.  This avoids most of the privacy problems of linking them to other personal details, but it does raise some problems.  For instance, if a stalker was seeking the phone number of their victim, and they know the area code they live in or have moved to, and they have a good idea of when that person changes their number and so gains a new one, then they can monitor the changes to the opt-out list within an area code in that period of time and arrive at a relatively short list of numbers, one of which will be their victim's.   This is especially true since geographic location is typically indicated by all but the last four digits.  This abuse of the system is largely impossible with the preferred approach of operating it on an enquiry basis.

Ideally, a telemarketing regulatory approach would cover calls to businesses, schools, community organisations, homes and government departments.

Ideally there would be no exceptions for charities, political parties etc.

The US system has its limitations, but for an opt-out system, it is fundamentally the right approach - hard, government regulation, real penalties for each violation, government control of the opt-out database and no publishing of any information at all in relation to the opted-out numbers.

If the ACCC approves ADMA's proposals for telemarketing in any way at all, then it will be giving official approval for a self-regulatory scheme which is opposed by most or all Australian advocates, and which is utterly deficient in principle and in detail from the US scheme.   So the ACCC would be giving its imprimatur to a sham of a so-called "regulatory" system when it should be supporting the protection of Australian homes and businesses along lines at least as substantial as those now enacted in the Unites States.

ADMA's suitability for running a self-regulatory scheme

ADMA represents some Australian direct-marketing companies and charities.  While for reasons of revenue and credibility, it seeks to increase its membership and to claim that it already has a very large and complete coverage of direct marketers, ADMA's limited membership is in fact all that the organisation represents.

Even if a self-regulatory regime were considered suitable for telemarketing, or for other aspects of direct marketing, there are several sets of reasons to question ADMA's suitability for the task.  Some of these are general problems inherent in such self-regulation and others are particular to ADMA.

ADMA's membership

In October 1998, ADMA had 370 members, of which 28 were listed as being involved in telemarketing.

The following analysis is based on ADMA's site on 9 September 2003.

The main page of ADMA's sites claims that it represents "over 500 member organisations.".  However the membership list, as shown by searching for all categories in all states, has 443 members.  After removing a handful of members of the same name which are evidently state-based divisions of the one company, or two branches of the one company at the same location, ADMA's membership stands at 436.  (One of these is "New Zealand Post International".  Another is "CW Agencies Inc VANCOUVER BC" - and Google finds no pages in the .au domain which mention "CW Agencies".) 

Some members are evidently suppliers of goods and services to direct marketers, rather than marketers or list providers themselves, such as printers, envelope manufacturers and legal and staff recruitment firms.  These firms have no marketing activities so their membership involves no regulatory restrictions on their business activities.

A text file with all members is an attachment to this submission ADMA-members-2003-09-09.txt  Those members which appear in the "Telemarketing Services" (27) and "Lists" (22) categories are flagged with T and L respectively.   While not every "telemarketing" company would be involved in outbound telemarketing, quite a number of  ADMA members in addition to those listed as "Telemarketing Services" would also be engaged in outbound telemarketing, for their own sales, but not as a "service" for other clients.

It is impossible from ADMA's site to estimate the percentage of members involved in outbound telemarketing.  The 27 of 443 represents 6% and gives a very approximate idea of the proportion of ADMA members who are engaged in outbound telemarketing.

ADMA's Industry Coverage

As was pointed out by many advocates in 1999, ADMA's coverage of companies (and charities) involved in outbound telemarketing falls demonstrably below the substantial coverage needed for ACCC approval of a Code.   The ACCC seemed to accept this during our discussions, but nonetheless approved the Code.  

Before trying to quantitatively estimate ADMA's coverage of outbound telemarketing, some definitions and clarifications are in order.

Bold claims are often made by telemarketers and by ADMA about the value of goods and services transacted through "telemarketing" - but this term includes "inbound" telemarketing as well as "outbound".   Inbound telemarketing has no obvious privacy or unwanted telecommunications problems.  There are some pretty straightforward consumer protection issues, but these are not important in the debate about ADMA receiving ACCC approval as the government mandated industry body to self-regulate outbound telemarketing in Australia.

As a very approximate insight into the telemarketing problem, here is a list of the details of some of the telemarketing calls I received in 2000 and 2001. I have not kept complete records, and sometimes I simply hung up without finding out anything about the caller.  (I now get fewer calls, after having the two major CD-ROM vendors remove my name from their products.  These are listed, so that other people can do the same, at the start of my page )   My number had a basic "business" listing in the White Pages, as well as its residential listing, but there was no Yellow Pages listing.  I never give my name or number in situations which might lead to telemarketing.   This is a lower level of calls than some people get, for instance in suburbs such as Camberwell which is wealthier than mine.   These do not include the persistent and at times truly bizarre repeat callers such as "Calder Windows" who were a problem in earlier years.

These calls took place after ADMA's Code was established.  They include some in the period after January 2001 when Desktop Marketing removed my number from their system.  I did not register with ADMA's do-not-call list.  I sometimes simply hung up, but usually instructed them never to call me again.

Apparent caller (details may be incomplete or garbled)
Small business fax paper newsletter

Diabetes Australia
2000-02-03 they have called me multiple times before.  Spoke to supervisor - she understands why I am pissed off - "I don't blame you."  They call their way through their list (essentially the White Pages) every 2 to 3 months.  Will take my number off the computer.  I will not be called again.
Golden Sampler
Selling a "discount card" to local businesses.
Laser Tan Services

Yooralla Society

Niagara Therapy
SUGger - pretended to be doing survey on "pain therapy".  Note 25 Feb 2004: I notice this company is an ADMA member. See list at end of this page.
Hardcourt Financial Services

Rothwells Negative Gearing

Variety Club

Deaf Blind Association
Caller's first day on the job - had no control over their list.
Lost Dogs Home
(I kept separate notes on their multiple calls but can't find them now.)
Some health club

Taxation Examiner Newsletter

New Life Roof Inspection

Association for the Blind

Diabetes Australia
Different supervisor this time.  Agreed she wouldn't want this done to her. Gave me managers name to write to.
Trying to tell me about prices I am already aware of. (I have Telstra for phone and local calls, but not long distance.)
Red Cross

Melbourne Lions Club

Network Planning
Supposedly not selling anything - no-doubt an invitation to a "free seminar".
Checking I was happy with their service and then launched into marketing spiel.
Asked caller if he would do this to his friends.  He said he would.
Lions Club

Fund-raising department of Austin Hospital

Police Bluelight Handbook
Do I want to advertise?
Australian Wine Collectors
Call began with a ringing tone.
Greenwich Solutions
Told me it was a "courtesy call".
Home Pride Service - roof restoration

Diabetes Australia
40 people in the Eltham call centre, working for 4 hours per shift. Repeat offender despite multiple promises and apologies with supervisors.  Haven't heard from them since I sent some letters to their management.
Madison Investing (Bangkok)
Twice in one day.
Victorian Quality Roofing Co.

Stanford Lions Darebin Centre

Deaf Family's school St Kilda
Claimed to have got my number "from Telstra" - but probably got it from Desktop
Marketing's CD-ROM
Fund-raising department Austin Hospital
Rotary Club of Preston Children's Appeal

Kidney Foundation

Deaf Blind Association


Orange Telecommunications

Bodywork Gym
"Boss told me to call some local
Bodywork Gym
Again, despite me telling them never
to call again.
Network Planning - home owners

MS Society

Some homeware company

ANZ bank marketing
I have an ANZ credit card.  This was on an Optus line which I hardly ever have a phone plugged into, which I never give the number of, but which was listed in the White Pages.
Holiday Concepts

Myers Cleaning Services

Ray White Real Estate

Dust Busters Australia

Melbourne Lions Club

Discount card scheme
$90 or so for a discount card to local businesses - proceeds supposedly to a well respected community radio station.  I wrote to the station and complained - they replied they licensed their name to this company and were desperate for the funds.
Firefighting Union

Australian Fire Prevention

Preston Rotary Club

Holiday Club

Myer Cleaning Services
Repeat offender.

These 56+ calls, some of them from repeat offenders, is not a complete record of the telemarketing calls I have received.  However, it is highly representative of the calls which a home - and in some cases a small business with no Yellow Pages entry - would receive. (I cancelled my business listing in the White Pages to reduce the telemarketing problem.)

Apart from Telstra and the ANZ bank, both of whom I am a customer, none of these calls seem to have came from ADMA members.

ADMA's claim of adequate coverage of outbound telemarketing is of no practical importance to me.  It is impossible to imagine that my experience of telemarketing is so different from the general experience of all Australians that ADMA really does have significant coverage of outbound telemarketers, and for some unknown reason, my experience does not reflect this.

Another approach to gauging industry coverage is to find companies in the Yellow Pages who advertise telemarketing services.  This is only a small subset of those companies and charities who make such calls, so even if ADMA or some other organisation can demonstrate high coverage of such telemarketing services companies, that would in no way show they have coverage over the main source of the calls. 

Here are the companies listed in the Yellow Pages, under Telemarketing, for Victoria, on 9 September 2003:

Access Training
  407/ 107 Beach St Port Melbourne VIC 3207
Active Contact
  208 York St South Melbourne VIC 3205
Advance Marketing Enterprises Pty Ltd
  209 Bulleen Rd Bulleen VIC 3105
All Encompassing Business Solutions
  Melbourne Elsternwick VIC 3185
Appeals Office
  Level 1 191 Glenferrie Rd Malvern VIC 3144
Apple Telemarketing
  4th Floor 11 Queens Rd Melbourne VIC 3000

Catalyst Recruitment Systems Ltd
  421- 437 Grieve Pde Altona North VIC 3025
Connect International Voice Mail Call Forwarding And Custom Answering
  L23, 390 St Kilda Rd Melbourne VIC 3000
Connected There
Contact Management Associates (Vic) Pty Ltd
  94 Tope St South Melbourne VIC 3205

Data Connection Pty Ltd
  238 Normanby Rd South Melbourne VIC 3205
  Level 2, 6- 10 Chapel St Prahran VIC 3181
D S Marketing
DTS Group
  Cheltenham VIC 3192

First Approach Marketing
  PO Box 212 Foster VIC 3960

Focus On Australia Pty Ltd
  Box Hill North VIC 3129
Golden Local Sample
  Essendon North VIC 3041         

Hands on Promotions
  Boronia VIC 3155

Insight Contact Centre Services

K. A. P. Advisors & Telemarketing
  45 Alma Rd St Kilda VIC 3182

  Collins Melbourne VIC 3000

Link Communications Corporation                         ADMA Member
  Level 8 , 600 St Kilda Rd Melbourne VIC 3004
  Take Advantage of Link's Extensive Call Centre Experience
Laffite Services
  PO Box 411 Seaford VIC 3198
Mailcare Systems Pty Ltd
  18 Edgecombe Crt Moorabbin VIC 3189

Marketcom Pty Ltd
Marketing Skill Pty Ltd AKA Phone Skill
  6 Ambleside Cl Mt Eliza VIC 3930

MLA Telemarketing
  Suite 11/ 2 Charnwood Crs St Kilda VIC 3182

Nautilus Marketing Services
  104 Dover St Richmond VIC 3121

Outbound Services Pty Ltd
  32 Harris Rd Donvale VIC 3111

Phone Direct.
  Level 2, 6- 10 Chapel St Windsor VIC 3181

Phoneline Marketing

Profile Telemarketing
  Traralgon VIC 3844
Realscape Technologies Pty Ltd
  Level D 42 Upper Heidelberg Rd Ivanhoe VIC 3079

ResponseAbility Telemarketing Consultants
  Unit 52/ 4 Sydney St Prahran VIC 3181

SRG Data Sell
  Port Melbourne VIC 3207
  We Are A Unique, Integrated Relationship Communications Agency
Sirius Telecommunications
  Level 8, 616 St. Kilda Rd Melbourne VIC 3004
Stellar Call Centres Pty Ltd                             ADMA Member
  PO Box 4238 Richmond VIC 3121
Salmat                                                                ADMA Member
  Melbourne VIC 3000
Simon Richards Group
  65 Fennel St Port Melbourne VIC 3207

Sirius Telecommunications                               ADMA Member
  Level 1, 341 Queen St Melbourne VIC 3000

Skilled Engineering Ltd
  850 Whitehorse Rd Box Hill VIC 3128

Smart Health Australia                                     ADMA Member
  2a Carlisle Ave Balaclava VIC 3183

Tele Personnel
  Suite 3 899 Whitehorse Rd Box Hill VIC 3128

Teleconnect Aust Pty Ltd
  24 91 Tulip St Sandringham VIC 3191

Telephone Power Pty Ltd
  48 Lake Ave Ocean Grove VIC 3226

Unity4 Teleservices Pty Ltd
U.C.M.S. Contact 360
  80 Dorcas St South Melbourne VIC 3205
Vocon Pacific
After removing duplicates, 50 telemarketing companies listed for Victoria.  5 are ADMA members.  Many of the non-member companies listed here are clearly active telemarketers.    (Chris Connolly repeated this exercise in NSW with similar results.)

Although I have not researched it specifically, it is clear that there are a number of major list brokers who are not ADMA members, such as:

Another approach to estimating the number of companies involved in telemarketing is to consider the membership of the ATA - Australian Teleservices Association (previously the Australian Telemarketing Association) .  This association is discussed further below.  The membership includes both individual and a number of corporate categories, so it is impossible from the membership number alone to gauge the number of organisations involved in telemarketing.  The ATA seems to be primarily concerned with inbound calls for many purposes other than sales - but their Code of Conduct applies specifically to outbound calls.  So the ATA covers many call centre activities beyond direct marketing.  The membership is not publicly available.

On 21 August 2003, in response to my emailed enquiry, Michael Meredith, Executive Director of the Australian Teleservices Association, wrote to me:

1. The ATA has over 1,800 members across Australia.

2. We have local representation in all the states in Australia.

3. We believe that through our membership that we cover approximately 75% of
the Contact Centre Industry.

4. Whilst I do not have any specific numbers on the percentage of ATA
members who conduct outbound calls only, I have seen two independent
research papers that quote 5% and 3% respectively of the Contact
Centre industry undertake outbound call only. 26% only inbound and
71% a mixture of inbound and outbound calls.

Even allowing for:
it is reasonable to conclude that the ATA's representation of outbound telemarketers greatly exceeds ADMA's.

This does not mean that the ATA or any other organisation is a suitable industry self-regulator, but it does show that ADMA is definitely not a tenable organisation to receive ACCC approval for this role.

ATA - Australian Teleservices Association

The Australian Teleservices Association, whose membership and telemarketing coverage is discussed in the previous section, is a second and larger organisation which seeks to represent telemarketers in Australia.

Neither ADMA or the ATA seem to refer to each other whatsoever in their web sites.

As each organisation is surely well aware of the other, the only possible conclusion is that these two organisations are involved in a "turf war" for membership and credibility - credibility amongst industry members and also presumably with government agencies such as the ACCC.

The ATA has its own Code of Practice, regarding primarily outbound telemarketing:

ATA Code of Practice

A commitment to Professionalism, Best Practice and Ethical Behaviour

The Australian Teleservices Association Ltd (ATA) is a not for profit organisation founded in 1990 to represent and serve the call centre industry in the delivery of teleservices.

The ATA is committed to meeting the needs of our members, as well as protecting the rights of consumers and businesses who consume the teleservices provided by our members.

The ATA advocates adherence to the highest standards of professionalism and ethical behaviour for all call centre operations. These standards, when conscientiously adopted and practised on a call-by-call basis, help assure the long term satisfaction of our members, their employees and their customers.

Through professional programs and activities in support of the Code, the ATA seeks to educate members, the public and governments at all levels concerning the desired behaviour for both inbound and outbound delivery of teleservices. The Code of Practice is also designed to assist any business, consumer or legal entity seeking to objectively measure the integrity and professional performance of a teleservice program. The Code of Practice has been developed to assist professional reputable call centre which have specific goals to achieve in an efficient and effective manner through high quality performance, with the public interest in mind.

This Code of Practice has been developed as a guide to the call centre industry, the business community and consumers to describe what is expected of an ethical and professional teleservices operation and to assist in the enhancement of professionalism within the industry

Call centres and teleservices operations are required to operate in accordance with all applicable Federal, State and local laws and acts, specific industry codes, business codes and regulations, the Privacy Act and this ATA Code of Practice.

1. Proper Identification

All contact with the customer should begin with the name of the company for whom the contact is being made or taken and the name of the Teleprofessional making the call, eg ‘The Australian Teleservices Association, this is Rachelle’.

2. Purpose of Call

A teleservices representative will promptly disclose the primary reason for the call as soon as practical into the conversation.

3. Contact Details

Either as part of the offer or as part of documentation confirming the sale, information must be given to the customer which provides a method for contacting the organisation making the offer by address and telephone number so that anyone with any enquiry or complaint can follow-up.

4. Skill Development

Prior to making or receiving customer contact, all teleprofessionals must receive adequate training. Appropriate supervision is to be provided.

5.   Honesty

All offers must be stated clearly and honestly so that the parties know exactly what they have committed to and what they will be getting in return. All claims which are untrue, misleading, deceptive, fraudulent or unjustly disparaging of competitors are deemed by the ATA to be unprofessional, dishonest and are considered to be a breach of this code.

6. Hours of Operation

Outbound Calls Daily


Outbound calls to either consumers or business’ shall not be placed during hours that might be considered unreasonable; ie. before 8am or after 9pm (local time at the called party’s location). Any expectations must be with the expressed consent of the called party.


Customer Contact Centres should be particularly sensitive to any inconveniences caused during weekend calling. It is recommended that Saturday calling begin no earlier than 10am local time and no earlier than noon local time no Sundays.

Public and Religious Holidays

No unsolicited calls should be initiated on major national holidays such as Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. When determining whether to call on any other holiday or other especially recognised days, any inconveniences caused by the call must be considered beforehand.

In Bound Calls

There is no restriction on inbound calls as it is the decision of the customer to make the call at time convenient to them.

7.   Call Preference Scheme

The ATA has established a “Call Preference Scheme” for the purpose of capturing the details of those who elect not to be contacted by telephone. It is expected that those companies who conduct outbound telemarketing will regularly “cleanse” their database from the Call Preference Scheme.

In addition to the ATA scheme each company is to maintain its own listing of those customers who have expressed a desire not be contacted by telephone and to develop a written policy implementing this “Call Preference Scheme” list keeping processes.

These Procedures are to Include:

  • How Teleprofessionals will capture “Call Preference Scheme” requests.
  • How and when these details will be loaded into the database.
  • How the “Call Preference Scheme” data will be forwarded to the person or company maintaining the Scheme.
  • How the accuracy of the database will be maintained.

“Call Preference Scheme” Lists must be maintained indefinitely and cannot be sold, or in anyway shared (except with a subsidiary of affiliate company), without the customer’ expressed consent. Any employee engaged in any aspect of the process must be fully trained in the above mentioned procedures. Service agencies must make sure their clients fully understand and agree to follow the procedures for maintaining to data.

8.   Automatic Dialing Apparatus Regulations

The ATA recommends Automatic Diallers are only to be used in conjunction with a compiled and quality managed database. Pre-recorded or artificial message machines are not to be used for any outbound sales or marketing function, including lead generation or qualification, appointment making, market research of fundraising. Companies need to manage resource levels in connection with the dialling apparatus to ensure customers are not left holding lines for longer than necessary (less than a minute) before speaking with a live operator.

9.   Facsimile and E-mail Regulations

The ATA does not support the transmission of unsolicited advertisements to e-mail and fax equipment. If however, the contacted party has an established business relationship with the intended recipient, then expressed prior consent is assumed until a “Telephone Preference Scheme’ ie. “Do not send information request is received.

Each facsimile must have either a header of a footer that clearly states the caller’s name, telephone number and the date and time of transmission.

It is noted that in some cases (ie business to business) a relationship may not exist, although the transmitter of the e-mail or fax will still need to be aware that the recipient would not object to receipt of the communication. The same will apply to marketers utilising lists of prospective clients who have previously expressed a desire to receive additional information about a generic area.

10. List Usage

Untargeted calling is not in the best interest of consumers, businesses or the Telemarketing industry. Calls should always be targeted to people or companies who are likely to have a use for the particular product or service being offered. The ATA does not condone random or sequential number calling that has no concern for the offer applicability to the call recipient. The only exception to this is legitimate market research, where random sampling techniques are required to assure the validity of a particular study.

11. Monitoring and Taping

The ATA strongly supports monitoring as a tool for assuring the quality of call and improving staff performance through ongoing training and development. It provides a means for employers to observe and evaluate the performance of the teleprofessional and the contact centre program and to provide immediate feedback on both. It also provides a means to protect the consumers and customers against unethical practices by individual teleprofessionals. It also protects the employer’s rights to supervise and regulate the quality of work being performed.

Monitoring of calls for the purpose of assessment or quality measurement does not require the consent of all parties to the call, providing that the call is not recorded.

The taping of part or all of the conversation is often used as an objective call verification tool to help clarify specific details of the call and answer questions. In this case, the teleprofessional must ask the called party for their permission to tape record the conversation before proceeding. If the called party does not consent, taping must not proceed beyond that point. It is recognised however that the need to obtain permission to tape a call can be waived in special work environment such as emergency services call centres.

It is important that the following guidelines for monitoring in the work place are set up:
  • All job applicants must be made aware of the company’s monitoring policy before accepting the job. This can be stated in the job application.
  • A written monitoring policy that addresses all issues of concern to an employee should be provided upon employment and additional copies should be placed clearly in employee work areas. This policy should include how and why monitoring is done and how soon after the calls are monitored a review will take place. (As a rule, feedback to the employee in a timely manner.)
  • The ATA strongly supports the position that monitoring work related calls is not a violation of anyone’s “personal privacy.” ATA members have a legitimate need to assess the quality of the calls to and from their customers. By the same token, the ATA advocates the employee’s rights to privacy during personal conversations.

I will not critique this Code, since telemarketing should be regulated by the government, not telemarketers themselves.  It doesn't seem to be significantly better than ADMA's, and has the same problems of explicitly allowing a pernicious misuse of people's telephone services for intrusive marketing, pretty much any time of the day and most days of the year.

Here are some points I hope the ACCC will consider when evaluating the success of ADMA's Code so far and ADMA's suitability as a government-authorised industry self-regulator, for any aspect of direct marketing whatsoever:


The ATA is committed to the promotion of a professional and ethical call centre industry. To assist in this the ATA has established a complaints resolution program to assist those who have experienced difficulties.

It is recommended that in the first instance that you approach the other party in order to seek a resolution as many organisations already have a stringent complaint-handling program in place. Should you find that after doing this you are unable to obtain a satisfactory resolution please forward the relevant details to the address below. The ATA will then undertake to raise any concerns and issues on your behalf.

Post:   PO Box 129
St Leonards NSW 2065.

Please ensure you include all relevant information together with your contact details.

It is easy to get the impression that part of ADMA's aim in seeking ACCC approval for its Code as part of its sparring for status and membership.  ADMA's failure to mention its new Code authorisation application to the ATA seems impossible to reconcile with the notion that ADMA is anywhere near trustworthy and resourceful enough to be granted express government mandate for what should, by rights, be a government responsibility: regulation of direct marketing and protection of the privacy of all Australians.

Problems with self-regulation in general and ADMA in particular

There are substantial potential advantages in a self-regulatory regime for a given industry.  In general, the shorter the feedback paths and the more knowledgeable the regulator, the sooner problems will be corrected.  This is assuming that the regulatory body has a genuine desire and the ability to regulate the industry to protect consumers.   However, since self-regulatory bodies are industry bodies they are beholden to their industry members. (To the point that the organisation or its directors could be sued if it failed to properly represent the interests of its members.)  Theoretically they have a formal and social contract with the government and society to protect the interests of consumers, but in fact, their entire existence and funding depends upon the willingness of industry participants to support the body.

There is always a tension, or potential tension, between business and customer.  (Not all the problems are businesses taking advantage of customers - there are also a handful of unreasonable and at times criminally fraudulent customers who, given the chance, will take advantage of businesses.)

There are industries where most of the participants take a genuine pride in providing an excellent service for customers, and who are keen to maintain standards and work to avoid over-pricing, anticompetitive conduct etc. which are potential problems in any type of commerce.  The ideal industry in this respect is one which makes no demands on customers, potential customers, society in general or the environment other than the fees it requires for its goods and services.  Such an industry, with a well respected industry body with excellent coverage of participants, is a good candidate for the sort of "co-regulatory" or "self-regulatory" arrangement ADMA was granted in 1999.  Such an industry can be profitable and overall beneficial to customers and society in general, provided that customers are prepared to pay the fees the participants are happy with.  Then, other than potential disputes about pricing, there is no conflict whatsoever between the industry going about its business, and the public benefit.

But direct marketing, in the form of unsolicited contacts to thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of people, by mail, and especially by telephone, is a completely different situation.

No-one gets a telephone service so that they can be interrupted and subjected to distraction and manipulation by telemarketers. 

No-one maintains a postal address with the desire that they will get junk mail.

The key characteristic of direct mail and telemarketing especially is that in general (unless the seller has a list of prospects of people who are 100% happy about being contacted, which is never the case in practice) this business practice of intrusive mail or telephone communication places a significant and completely unjustifiable burden on individuals all over the country.  Virtually everyone with a postal address or a telephone is forced to share this burden, time and again, over and over, from the same marketers many times and from many marketers just once.   There is no possible moral or economic justification for this imposition.  There are no benefits whatsoever for consumers in finding out about, or purchasing goods and services (or making donations) over other non-intrusive methods of advertising and purchasing / donating.

Via email, the post, telephone calls and any new methods of point-to-point communication which become available, outbound direct-marketing places a massive burden on society in general, and a frequently intolerable burden on millions of citizens.

Because direct marketers can never even closely approach their ideal - a list of people who have never heard of them, but who will be happy to be contacted and who will very often accept their offer - outbound direct marketing (except on an opt-in basis) always imposes a huge, unfair, distressing, expensive and destructive burden on virtually all adults in Australia.

This is not a clearly defined "industry".  Outbound direct-marketing is a pernicious business practice adopted by a few full-time operators and occasionally by a larger number of ordinary businesses.

Outbound direct marketers cannot do business without continually and repeatedly burdening thousands or millions of people at home, and at their workplaces (thereby burdening all businesses with extra costs which damage national competitiveness and which must be paid for by consumers in the end).

Since outbound direct-marketing offers no benefits to consumers over non-intrusive methods, and since it always imposes unacceptable costs on the public in general, the only proper form of regulation is to ban it except for those who make an explicitly, fully informed and unpressured decision to accept outbound direct-marketing communications.

Direct mail can have some benefits over telemarketing and ordinary advertising.  Unlike advertising, it can include product samples, or more detailed and personalised product information than is possible via the Net, print media advertising or radio or TV.  Unlike telemarketing, the recipient's attention is given to the material when they choose to go to their letterbox, and at any time afterwards.  But direct mail clutters up mailboxes and wastes paper and transport resources.

I think that direct mail could probably remain a viable business practice on a carefully managed opt-in basis.  But it is impossible to imagine this for outbound telemarketing.  Since becoming involved in this issue in late 1991, I have never seen any evidence that anyone at all actively wants to be subjected to sales and fundraising calls on their home, work or mobile phones.

Both direct-mail and outbound telemarketing have a huge negative impact on society, primarily on people who have no interest whatsoever in the product or charity, and who have no way of defending themselves.   This is the sort of problem we create governments to solve.

Successful regulation of direct mail to properly protect consumers and businesses who are targeted would lead to greatly reduced direct mail activity, significantly lower revenues, but greater profit margins on this smaller revenue base, since mailouts would go to people who want them.  (Alternatively, if it is assumed that competition has the effect of driving prices down to the limit set by a viable, lower, profit margin, then benefits flow to consumers in the form of lower costs.)

Successful regulation of outbound telemarketing would result in cessation of all outbound sales and funds-raising calls except to the very small number of people who have knowingly and explicitly consented to receiving them.  Outbound calls would be vastly reduced, say to 0.1% of current activity.  Efficiency could be higher, depending on the costs of maintaining a properly regulated "industry" which ensured calls were only made to those who genuinely want to receive them.  The current huge number of scatter-gun calls, which burdens practically every adult and every business in the country, would cease. 

Direct marketing on the regulated basis just described would be like any other legitimate, accepted "industry" or business practice - it would not burden anyone except those who wanted to be burdened by its activities.

The problem for the public is that the great majority of outbound telemarketing - and to a somewhat lesser extent direct mail - activity is directed at people who don't want it, and who can't individually protect themselves from it. 

The only economic reason this extraordinarily costly, unfair, overkill of intrusive communications persists is because in a small proportion of cases, it happens to reach someone who is in the mood to buy or donate or who can be talked into doing so.   Ideally, all consumers and businesses would refuse to do any business with anyone who approached them in an intrusive manner.  Unfortunately, a small proportion of people are susceptible to intrusive marketing and do part with their money.  These careless / impressionable purchasers and donors are at least as culpable as the marketers themselves for the burdens everyone suffers from intrusive marketing, since the fund it entirely.  (There are also non-economic reasons behind outbound direct marketing.  Firstly there is the instinctual hunting and gathering thrill of spear-like targeting or mass-netting income-generating customers, rather than just opening a shop and waiting for them to walk in.  Secondly, many businesses, for ill-considered reasons, have brief forays into outbound telemarketing and direct mail because vendors of lists, especially CD-ROMs of home and business contact details, are able to convince them it would be acceptable and profitable to engage in these aggressive, "take action rather than wait and hope" intrusive marketing approaches.)

An industry which naturally happily co-exists with its customers and the wider public, and for which there is one clearly respected body which has sufficient coverage, is a good candidate for some level of self- or co-regulation.

Even if telemarketing and direct mail were such "industries", there would be systemic problems with self- or co-regulation:
Modern life is complex, so regulatory arrangements tend to be complex too.   The advantage of self-regulatory schemes is the potential for faster, more knowledgeable, "closer" feedback and problem resolution.  But there are real disadvantages because of the difficulty of discovering and negotiating a complex, diffuse and poorly co-ordinated mish-mash of regulatory arrangements.  This is bad enough for someone like me who is a telecommunications consultant.  The problems are far worse for the elderly, those with poor English skills and those who lack the patience or the general knowledge to successfully discover and navigate the maze of frameworks, laws and regulatory bodies.  Similarly, the maze raises problems for these regulatory bodies themselves.

There are arguments for and against self-regulation.   But it is clear that self-regulation can only be successful when the representative body has good coverage, and when the mainstream of the industry naturally and happily does business in a way which does not burden society in general or cause problems for customers.

But direct-mail and outbound telemarketing are striking examples of the opposite conditions.  These business practices, in their current scatter-gun form, are inherently a serious and often intolerable burden on society.  These business practices are inherently of little or no value to customers over non-intrusive alternatives.

These facts make it impossible for any industry body to successfully self-regulate the "industry" - really the pernicious business practice - to the point where it no longer burdens society and where it does not take unfair advantage of its few remaining customers.  This is because any such successful outcome would have the effect of significantly reducing (direct mail) or almost entirely eliminating (outbound telemarketing) the current "industry" - the current business practices - which provide the membership and funding for the industry body.

An honest and proportionate account of the impact outbound telemarketing has on Australians would be a massive, deafening, roar of millions of people cursing, characterising the telemarketers with vile invective, and demanding government action to halt this abuse.

Of necessity this submission contains a polite, concise and incomplete account of the problems caused by outbound telemarketing.  However it is instructive and not at all unfair to draw an analogy between a telemarketing industry body protecting consumers from telemarketing and giving foxes guarding chickens.

But even if, by some bizarre distortion, outbound telemarketing was deemed to be an industry or business practice in which consumers really could be protected by a self regulatory body, there are several reasons why ADMA in 2003 cannot be that body:
  1. Its coverage of outbound telemarketing - both of dedicated telemarketers and of businesses (and charities) who for their own purposes conduct outbound telemarketing - is far below that which the ACCC requires.  It is both low in absolute terms and it is lower than another teleservices (previously "telemarketing) industry body: the ATA.

  2. ADMA has repeatedly displayed its hostility towards privacy and consumer benefits.  It also displays its contempt for the ATA by failing to mention the ATA on its site, and apparently by failing to inform it of the current application to the ACCC.  (This is not to say that the ATA is any more genuinely interested in consumer privacy.)

ADMA's application for ACCC accreditation was opposed largely or entirely, and often with great passion and in substantial detail, by a wide range of privacy and consumer advocates in 1999.  The ACCC listened to and apparently accepted all the advocates' critiques - and then granted ADMA the approval it requested. 

Now, after four years, we can see how ineffectual ADMA and its so-called "Code Authority" has been at actually protecting Australians from the flood of outbound telemarketing calls.

While the ACCC's 1999 decision might be seen as an act of faith - in self-regulation generally and in ADMA's character and capabilities specifically - there is no basis in 2003 for continuing to give ACCC-approval for this failed experiment.

The ACCC must have criteria for refusing approval for codes of practice.   There must be cases where the arguments are so clear that approval is refused.  Its hard to imagine a clearer set of circumstances than ADMA's for refusing to approve a code of conduct.

In 1999, the advocate's concerns were directed to what we believed would happen.  We predicted it would be a sham, of no real benefit to consumers, with many significant costs.  

The last four years of sham consumer protection with no substantial protections proves that the advocates were right, and that the ACCC's 1999 faith in self-regulation of outbound telemarketing - and in ADMA - was ill-judged.

The US hard regulation of outbound telemarketing - in a country renowned for letting corporations do as they please (largely due to the dependence of both parties on corporate funding) invites some observations:

Shortcomings of the Code and its "Authority"

The criticisms of the "Code Authority" in this section would be pointers to improvements for the future if it is thought worthwhile for ADMA to continue to have a role in regulating direct-mail.  But there are many arguments against ADMA having any government-mandated consumer protection responsibilities.  The point about these shortcomings is that it demonstrates failings which are attributable to:

There is no "Code Authority".  There is a pretence to such a body existing, but there is no evidence of a separate organisation, with articles of association, constitution, budget, audited accounts etc.  The "Code Authority" is not under any kind of public oversight - it is a private function within ADMA.

As best as can be ascertained from publicly available material, the "Code Authority" is a secretariat of ADMA staff handling day-to-day operations, with a chairman, two industry representatives and two "consumer representatives".  These people are presumably paid and work as contractors.  There is is no public  disclosure in the "Authority's" annual reports, or anywhere else of some matters which are crucial to the independence of these people:
So we have no reason whatsoever to think of these people as independent in their "Code Authority" activities.

There is no information at all on how they are selected.

As far as I am aware, the so-called "consumer representatives" were not selected in consultation with any consumer representative body.  A proper approach would be to leave the appointment of consumer representatives to AFCO (Australian Federation of Consumer Organisations ) who would also ensure that their terms of involvement and payment enabled them to be truly independent from ADMA and so to truly represent consumers. 

The chairman and one of the "consumer representatives" are members of the Australian Consumers Association board.  But what are their capabilities in the "Code Authority"?  If they were to suggest real regulation, such as telemarketing being conducted on an opt-in basis only (which is the only way of properly protecting the public) ADMA would ignore it.  What then would be their position in this "Code Authority"?

This so-called "Authority" is not a separate body - it is part of ADMA.  ADMA consistently claim to have 500 members, when the real number is less than 450.  ADMA consistently claims the "Authority" is independent, when it is in no way independent of ADMA. These seem to be three clear, and oft-repeated, instances of false and misleading advertising.

Chris Connolly's submission covers the low level of complaints (compared to direct marketing complaints directed to state and federal privacy commissioners) which shows there is a low public awareness of, and/or trust in, this Code and its so-called "Authority".

There appears to be no oversight whatsoever of either ADMA or the "Authority" to give confidence in any of the published information about the Code, the "do-not-call" list, the "Authority" or the complaints from the public.  ADMA can't even get its own membership numbers right within 10%.  Why should the ACCC or the public have faith in the accuracy of any other qualitative or quantitative information ADMA presents?

Only cursory details of complaints are given.

Complaints can only be made in writing, which precludes the faster and more convenient method of email, and the more interactive, reassuring and informative approach of making a complaint by phone.

This is the "Authority", given government approval to self-regulate the direct marketing industry, including outbound telemarketing which involves hundreds of millions of intrusive phone calls a year.  Yet there is no provision for using the telephone to call the "Authority" regarding complaints.

ADMA contends, and the ACCC seemed to accept, that the threat of expulsion from ADMA was likely to be a significant deterrent to members who failed to meet the requirements (weak though they are) of the Code.  Yet when one long-time member of ADMA is found by the "Authority" to be repeatedly violating the code, it willingly left the organisation.  (2000-2001 report.  Victor Paul Direct Marketing Pty Ltd is "sanctioned" for "unsatisfactory handling of complaints, disputed billing practices, and lack of clarity of the initial offer".  The company, a member since 1994, advised in August 2000 that it would not be renewing its ADMA membership.)

This shows that the "Authority" has no clout with at least some companies, and probably most companies, whose business practices harm consumers - since the company can save the bother of code compliance and its ADMA fees by either leaving ADMA, or never joining in the first place.   The implication is that the so-called benefits to a company from the public percieving it to be an ADMA member are worth little or nothing to such companies. 

Without the ability to order financial compensation, the "Authority" is truly toothless, since its worst possible action against a non-compliant ADMA member is to expel the member and so free the company from its obligations under the code.

All these concerns were raised in 1999 by the advocates as arguments that self-regulation for an "industry" - or rather a business practice - where the majority of problems are caused by hard-to-identify, unprincipled, systematically intrusive and exploitative "cowboys" can never work.  Those telemarketers who most urgently need to be regulated are those which are least likely to pay money to join ADMA, to pay for access to the do-not-call list and so to be subject to the Code in any way.

The "Code Authority" meets every three months.  How can this facilitate timely handling of consumer complaints? 

What qualifications does its secretariat have to deal with complaints day-to-day?  Do they keep in touch with complainants via phone and email, or are all attempts at resolution conducted by the slow, formal, one-way use of letters in the postal system?

The "Code Authority" produces an annual report as its sole public record of activity.  This is slow to come out (no 2002-2003 report yet on 11 September 2003 - and the previous years report's PDF file was created on 20 March 2003) and gives no indication that the "Authority" is genuinely interested in protecting consumers from telemarketing.  While the "Authority" can suggest changes to the Code to ADMA, in the years reported to date, there has been no suggestion that, for instance, outbound telemarketing be conducted on an opt-in basis only.

There is no information on the number of members or non-members who used the do-not-call/mail list.  (I wrote to ADMA about this on 8 September and have not received a response by the time this submission was completed after 4PM on 12 September.)

The 2001-2002 report does not mention the number of people who have registered with the do-not-call/mail list.  The previous reports give the following information:

Prior to 1999-2000: 16,000.

During 1999-2000: 8,000 new, for a total of 24,000.

2000-2001 report, total is now 49,000.

This last figure was presumably for the end of June 2001.  Now, two years and three months have passed and ADMA expects the ACCC to give another five years of approval for its Code and so-called "Authority".  But where is the key information on numbers of people who have registered for the opt-out list?  Where is the information on how many members and non-members of ADMA have actually paid the fees to use the list?

How can ADMA justify charging its own members for a list of consumers who should not be contacted, when compliance with this list is a requirement of membership?   The fees are substantial, and in addition to the membership fees, constitute a further disincentive for any business, especially a smaller business, for using this list or being subject to the Code and its so-called "Authority".

The fees on 11 September 2003 are:

File Type Member Non-member
Do not Mail / Do Not Call $450 $1450
Do Not Email $250 $750
M-Marketing Opt-Out $250 $750
Do Not Email/ M-Marketing Opt-Out $450 $1450
Complete Package $750 $2500

Since the lowest fee for ADMA membership (companies with less than $750k) is $1,089:

Annual Gross Revenue

Total Inc. GST

Under $750,000










Over $10,000,000


any small telemarketer who wants to comply with the the do-not-call list faces a cost of $1450 (these are all annual fees) or $1539 including joining ADMA and so being subject to the Code authority.  (Although the contract for the list - 4.4 - involves the licensee undertaking to comply with the Code.)

By contrast, the US Do-Not-Call system provides free access to the list for five area codes (telephone areas in the USA are significantly smaller than the big metropolitan areas of Australia).  There is also a manual web-based system for looking up numbers - I can't find cost information for this, so perhaps it is free.

The low number of registrations on the do-not-contact list shows that it is almost entirely ineffectual at protecting Australians from unwanted intrusive communications, especially outbound telemarketing.

The USA has population about 13 times that of Australia.  At the start of operations of the US Do-Not-Call service (the end of August 2003 cutoff date for the list which becomes effective on 1 October) there were 48,400,000 registrations.  In Australia, after two years of ADMA's code, its opt-out-list had 49,000 registrations - 1/1000 of the number, with 1/23 of the population..  So the US legislated, government controlled,  telemarketing opt-out list was very quickly 43 times as effective as ADMA's industry controlled, weak, "self-regulated" scheme.  Furthermore, the US scheme covers all telemarketers, whilst ADMA's only covers a small fraction - 10% or less.

It is reasonable to assume that the number of people registering in the US scheme will double over time.  Even allowing for some growth in ADMA's numbers (which one would think they would have reported if they had grown) to as much as double the 49,000 reported in 2001, it seems that ADMA is never going to have more than 1/43 of the proportion of the population on its list than the US government scheme.   Multiplying this factor - 1/43 - by the low coverage of the "industry" (say 10%) then we must conclude that as a proportion of calls affecting the general population, the US, legislated, government controlled scheme is at least 400 times as effective as ADMA's.

How can ADMA's Code "Authority" be considered "independent" or publicly accountable when it is necessary to use Google to find out anything about its M-Marketing Committee, and when an enquiry about the do-not-contact list registrations and the numbers of members and non-members who use it goes unanswered?

Privacy and security problems of the Opt-Out List

ADMA's list does not apply to businesses - yet businesses or other organisations such as charitable organisations involved in delivering social services - are constantly hounded by telemarketers and hawkers.  The great majority of businesses have an "Absolutely No Hawkers" sign on their doors, but no such thing is possible via telephone.

The public and privacy advocates have no reason to trust ADMA its "Authority" or any of the members or non-members who access the list.

The public is asked to provide their name, phone number (for opting out of telemarketing) and/or address (opting out of direct mail).  Likewise their mobile-phone number and email address for opting out of being contacted by these methods.

The full information is then included in the list to be distributed to members and non-members.  There is no possible way of ensuring that the information is used only as intended.

The list could not possibly be used by anyone who values their privacy, because it explicitly links their name to whatever contact details they put on the list.

It only takes one unprincipled employee to take a copy of the list and forward it to persons who would misuse it for there to be serious and perhaps life-threatening impact on people who placed their details on the list.  There is absolutely no way of preventing this or detecting any such copying and misuse.

Stalkers, abusers and the like cannot be prevented from paying other people to supply information on the people they want to know the whereabouts of.  This leads to a straightforward financial incentive for misuse of the list, including non-ADMA members to purchase it under false pretences which ADMA would find hard to detect.  Anyone at all in Australia can pretend to be a telemarketer and purchase the list, and ADMA has no way of ensuring the bona-fides of any such person.

No public figure, or person trying to remain safe from an abusive ex-partner, or who feels under threat from criminals (including corrupt police) could possibly use this list without great risk.

The M-Marketing Code of Practice

(ACIF has a Code regarding SMS marketing which I have not had time to study.)

The telephone network, email and later mobile text communications developed in an environment where security and privacy were not properly considered.  Since mobile text messaging (and other more complex protocols with extensive text, audio, graphic and video content) has become widely adopted after the terrible problems of telemarketing and spam became well known, it is not surprising that those promoting mobile services were at pains to prevent its widespread misuse.

(This has not occurred in Japan, where the widely used, mobile phone, email and somewhat Internet-compatible, DoCoMo i-mode system was reported in early 2002 to carry emails which were 98% spam. "Of the 900 million messages that go through DoCoMo's servers each day, 880 million (98%) are spam, according to the company. The problem is that, regardless of the source of the message, subscriber phones ring (or vibrate) every time mail arrives.".  These phones have a unique email address such as: <> A test phone received 857 spams in August 2001 rising to 2,578 spam messages in February 2002.)

ADMA's initial approach to email and "M-Marketing", was purely opt-out - as still reflected in its do-not-contact list. This is to be expected from any industry body, since the opt-in approach - the only one which properly protects consumers - would result in a virtual cessation of the practice, unless marketers were somehow able to convince a significant number of people to accept their messages.

It is not clear how ADMA's M-Marketing Code came into being, but it is dated June 2003.  Acknowledgement is given to the carrier AAPT, but Google finds no significant reference to "M-Marketing Council" (AKA "Mobile Marketing Council") outside ADMA's site - and the site's page for this "Council" is available only to ADMA members.  According to this was chaired by David Burden, CEO of Legion Interactive which operates BlueSkyFrog, claiming "811,795 customers opted-in to receive email and mobile marketing messages". 

(I once made the mistake of registering my GSM phone number with .  I subsequently repeatedly tried to have them cease sending me emails/SMS messages and to cancel my account, since their website provided no way of doing either.  After multiple emails, the problem ceased.  Their Privacy Policy makes no mention of account cancellation, or of ADMA, or the M-Marketing Code.)

(The privacy pages of both AAPT and its mobile subsidiary ( & ) have no mention ADMA or the M-Marketing Code.)

(This Code was supposedly launched in association with NOIE - the National Office of the Information Economy - but searching their site for "Mobile Marketing" and "M-Marketing" produced no results.)

The M-Marketing Code covers an open-ended variety of communication techniques and requires that people either opt-in or be an existing customer of the company who sends them commercial messages.  

Opt-in is the only proper approach for regulating intrusive communications.

The M-Marketing Code has minimum requirements for each message:
So in order to opt-out of future messages, or to even find out how to opt-out, the recipient may be required to use a service which costs them a fee.  While this may be necessitated by the costs and very limited message lengths of SMS (160 or 130 characters depending on the technology), this complicated and potentially costly burden of responding to or opting out of mobile marketing messages is a burden on individuals, and further cause for them to only be sent to people who explicitly opt-in to them, not  just to anyone who becomes a customer of a company which wants to send such messages.

If a Google search is anything to go by, there is close to zero public or industry awareness of this M-Marketing Code. 

ADMA's amendments are irrelevant

In respect of telemarketing at least, there is nothing ADMA could do to alter its code which would result in its approval (AKA authorisation) by the ACCC leading to net public benefit.

This submission has given many reasons why this is the case.  These are summarised below.

No net benefits for consumers in approving the proposed Code

If ACCC approval of ADMA's code was in the public interest, then consumer/privacy advocates would support it.  However we believe that the regulation of intrusive telecommunications, and many other aspects of consumer protection, are best achieved by government regulation, rather than self-regulation or a maze of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) schemes.

In order to approve this Code, the ACCC needs to establish beyond question that there is net benefit to consumers in doing so.  Its not good enough to identify one or more specific items of real or purported benefit and assume from this that the benefit of approval is in total positive.  Approval of this code involves immense costs to consumers immediately (the continuation of virtually unrestricted telemarketing, with government approval), and in the broader sense of damaging the prospects for proper regulation of the problems inherent in direct marketing.  So the ACCC needs to consider all these factors in deciding whether the net benefit is positive.

There are a series of tests which ADMA's proposal - and ADMA itself - must pass in order for the Code to be approved.  Failing any one of these tests renders the Code unapprovable.  Most of these tests have nothing to do with the Code itself, so its not a question of the ACCC granting approval subject to changes to the code, or additional conditions to take effect in the future.

The purpose of government is to support and protect citizens - with particular emphasis on protecting citizens from threats they cannot protect themselves from individually, if this can be achieved efficiently on a country-wide basis, without significant diminution of individual freedoms or imposing unreasonable burdens on citizens.

The ACCC's responsibility is to protect consumers and businesses - in this case from a small proportion of businesses who impose great costs on society by pursuing unreasonable business practices which the vast majority of individuals and businesses would never inflict on anyone.

Authorisation of ADMA's Code in 1999 was a mistake.  It constituted government approval of business practices which burden uninvolved parties with unreasonable costs.  It was a clear statement to the public that ADMA is a trustworthy organisation, that it has proper coverage of telemarketing and other aspects of direct marketing, and that the public should be happy with the meagre protections and dispute resolutions its Code and "Authority" offers.

In summarising this submission, here are a list of tests, all of which the ACCC must establish beyond reasonable doubt that ADMA, its Code and the "Code Authority" pass, before authorisation can be contemplated.  

1 - ADMA's coverage of telemarketing and direct mail

ADMA fails this test for telemarketing in several ways. Its absolute coverage of telemarketing bureaux (companies large and small who conduct telemarketing for others) is minimal - for instance 10% of those listed in the Yellow Pages in Victoria.  Its coverage of such bureaux is clearly less than that of a competing industry association, the ATA.  ADMA's coverage (and the ATA's) of the businesses and charities which sometimes, or as a core part of their operations, engage in outbound telemarketing is probably below 10%.  My experience of telemarketing calls is solid evidence that most organisations which make these calls have nothing to do with ADMA.  ADMA's coverage of list brokers is similarly deficient.

To what extent ADMA has coverage of direct mail bureaux, companies and charities whose operations centre on direct mail, or the much broader range of companies and charities who at times use direct mail, I cannot be sure.  But it seems there is a similar pattern of ADMA overstating its own importance and pretending there is a clearly definable industry when in fact this is simply a business practice with serious privacy problems which needs to be regulated by government legislation.  

2 - ADMA's integrity and suitability for being a government approved regulator

ADMA's integrity is lacking in many ways.  The organisation has known since 1991 that telemarketing at any time is rejected by the great majority of consumers.  Its own research (kindly forwarded to me in 1992 by a previous director and which is analysed and reproduced in facsimile at ) 70% of the 1204 respondents to a national telephone survey say that outbound telemarketing is unacceptable to them.  Telephone surveys have a low response rate (due largely to the pressures of telemarketing) and it is reasonable to assume that the proportion of the public who did not respond, say 40% to 60% in those days (response rates are generally much lower in recent years), find telemarketing entirely unacceptable.  Chris Connolly's submission details more recent research by the Privacy Commissioner showing that about 90% of respondents find telemarketing unacceptable.  In my own discussions with many people over the years, I haven't met anyone who found it acceptable.

Telemarketers know very well how unacceptable their intrusive communications are. 

Any person, company, charity or industry organisation with integrity would work hard to prevent exploitative business practices like outbound telemarketing from burdening the vast majority of people at home and in businesses who find it unacceptable.

ADMA pretends to want to protect consumer privacy.  But this is a transparent sham.  If ADMA, or telemarketers, valued consumer privacy, or if they wanted to prevent the costly interruptions all businesses (and government / community organisations) suffer from telemarketers, then they would work assiduously to ensure outbound telemarketing was conducted only on an opt-in basis.

There are many ways in which ADMA can be seen to lack the integrity which befits an organisation which the government entrusts with consumer protection responsibilities.  Many of the trade-organisations which apply for ACCC authorisation are of a high integrity, but ADMA is surely at the bottom of the integrity scale, and on many counts far below the basic requirements the ACCC expects.
There are no-doubt many more aspects to ADMA's lack of integrity - but its not just ADMA specifically which would be unable to have the required high integrity required of any government-authorised industry self-regulator. 

The entire notion of an industry body successfully curtailing a pernicious business practice to achieve proper consumer protection, when that "industry" is entirely based on this pernicious business practice, means that no industry body, which represents industry participants, could ever survive if acted seriously to protect consumers. 

The logic of this is inexorable: the interests of the industry participants is inherently at odds with the interests of the public, because the "industry" is based on an exploitative business practice which is intrusive and costly to - and rejected by - the vast majority of businesses and consumers who are targeted.  So its probably not fair to blame ADMA for its failure to genuinely seek consumer protection - just as it would hardly be fair to blame foxes for being constitutionally incapable of protecting chickens.  Like foxes, telemarketers and ADMA would starve if their quarry was genuinely protected.  It is unrealistic to expect a self-regulatory body like ADMA, in an industry based on exploitation of the public, to genuinely protect the public.

3 - Approval of ADMA's code has serious broad costs for the public and for policy development

For the ACCC to approve this entirely deficient form of so-called consumer protection is firstly to deceive the public that this is in fact effective and that ADMA has the integrity and capability to protect the public from outbound telemarketing.   This would be a dereliction of the ACCC's formal and moral duty to the public.  Such a decision would force the public, in the years to come, to negotiate a minefield of potentially overlapping and often deficient, poorly run, toothless, non-government alternative dispute resolution arrangements.  Citizens pay their taxes and comply with the laws with the reasonable expectation that the governments they fund, and give legitimacy to, will act to protect them.

But there would be further long-term costs to the public if this approval was made.   Firstly, the government approval for open-slather telemarketing (with an ineffectual and privacy violating opt-out list) is then seen as a supposedly acceptable benchmark for other aspects of government policy and industry self-regulation.  Chris Connolly discovered an instance of a state electricity marketing code which copied ADMA's telemarketing hours - no-doubt in part because these hours are "ACCC-approved".

Secondly, whenever the question of telemarketing regulation arises, ADMA and others who are opposed to real regulation (including those in government, politics, the bureaucracy and other industries who are opposed to genuine, hard, regulation) can deflect calls for proper regulation by pointing to the "ADMA's ACCC-approved Code of Practice, with its Independent Code Authority" as an already existing arrangement which properly protects consumers.

By refusing to re-authorise this Code, the ACCC would be reversing its mistake of 1999.  It would be withdrawing government support for this worse then useless Code and its untrustworthy sponsor, ADMA, and thereby providing a basis on which proper regulation can be developed.  Proper regulation of telemarketing is opt-in.  Worlds best practice of telemarketing regulation is at least at the level of the USA's privacy protective opt-out list, with hard government legislation for real fines (USD$11,000 per call).

I have run out of time to complete this submission.  But even if only a fraction of the problems highlighted here were true, then ACCC approval for ADMA's code would be impossible to contemplate.

There may be a relatively small number of submissions opposing ADMA's application, due to this not being a publicly advertised process, due to privacy advocates having their hands full with many other issues, and also due to this week having two privacy conferences in Sydney.

I trust that the ACCC will consider all these points carefully, and take a close look at major developments in telemarketing regulation which have taken place in Europe and the USA since 1999.


I will supply these in hard copy - and I ask that the ACCC print these documents too since they can best be considered on paper, rather than on screen.

Australian Direct Marketing Association members 9 September 2003.

List and Telemarketing Services members flagged with L and T.

     303 Advertising                    SUBIACO WA
     360 Partnership                    SYDNEY
     A.P.V.C. Business Holdings P/L     ROBINA QLD

     A1 Green House Printing            HAYMARKET NSW
     AAMI Insurance Company Ltd         MELBOURNE
     AAPT Ltd                           SYDNEY

     ACE Insurance Limited              SYDNEY 
     ACP Publishing Pty Ltd             SYDNEY
     Action Direct Marketing Pty Ltd    MALVERN VIC
  T  Active Mail                        TAREN POINT NSW
L    Acxiom                             SYDNEY
  T  Advantage Communications & Marketing NORTH PERTH
     Advertising Depot                  PADDINGTON QLD
     AdXplorer                          WOOLLAHRA NSW
     AGL Energy Sales & Marketing       NORTH SYDNEY 
     Air New Zealand                    SYDNEY
     Allegiance Marketing Pty Ltd       MANLY NSW
     Allens Stores Pty Ltd              FYSHWICK ACT
     American Express International Inc SYDNEY
     American Home Assurance Company    MELBOURNE
     AMP                                SYDNEY
     Amway of Australia                 CASTLE HILL NSW
     ANZ Bank                           MELBOURNE 
     AOL/7 Pty Ltd                      CHATSWOOD NSW
     AP Mail Management Pty Ltd         PARRAMATTA NSW
   T Atlantis Information Services P/L  GLADESVILLE NSW
     Audi Australia Pty Ltd             CONCORD WEST NSW
     Aussie Mortgage Market             SYDNEY
     AUSTAR Entertainment               SOUTH SYDNEY
L    Australasian Medical Publishing Co STRAWBERRY HILLS NSW
     Australia Post                     MELBOURNE  
     Australian Business Limited        NORTH SYDNEY
     Australian Central Credit Union    ADELAIDE
     Australian Committee For Unicef Ltd SYDNEY SOUTH
     Australian Direct Marketing Association KINGS CROSS NSW
     Australian Envelopes               NOTTING HILL VIC
     Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency MELBOURNE
     Australian Quality Monitoring      MANLY NSW

     Australian Red Cross               SOUTH CARLTON VIC
     Australian Unity Limited           SOUTH MELBOURNE
     Australian Wine Selectors Pty Ltd  HUNTER REGION MC NSW
     AVIS Australia                     MASCOT NSW
     Avnet Computer Marketing           NORTH RYDE NSW
     AWDM                               SURRY HILLS NSW
L    Axiom Databases / Marketing & Communications ARTARMON  NSW
     Bank of Western Australia          PERTH
     Batey Vida                         THE ROCKS NSW
     Baycorp Advantage Marketing Solutions SYDNEY
     BCM Direct                         FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD
     Berger Software Pty Ltd            NORTH RYDE NSW
     Black Box Network Services Australia CROYDON VIC
     Black Ink                          BRISBANE
     Blue Star Print Group Australia    SILVERWATER NSW
   T Blueprint Management Group Pty Ltd SYDNEY
   T Boomerang Integrated Marketing & Advertising BALMAIN NSW
     Boystown Lotteries                 MILTON QLD
     Brett Goulston and Associates      CROWS NEST NSW
     Bristow Prentice Lambaart Budd     ALBERT PARK VIC
     Brown Melhuish Fishlock Pty Ltd    PYRMONT NSW
   T Call Centre INTEGRITY Pty Ltd      MILSONS POINT NSW Pty Ltd            NORTH SYDNEY 
     Caltex Australia                   SYDNEY
     Candida Stationery Pty Ltd         LIDCOMBE NORTH NSW
     Capital Finance Australia Ltd      SYDNEY
     Carlson Marketing Group            SYDNEY

     CCH Australia Ltd                  SYDNEY
     Cellarmaster Wines Pty Ltd         BONDI JUNCTION 
     Children's Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research
                                        RANDWICK NSW

     Chippendale                        CONCORD WEST NSW
     Chubb Home Security Pty Limited    ASHFIELD NSW
     CIGNA International Marketing Aust. SYDNEY 
     Citibank Limited                   SYDNEY
     Clayton Utz                        SYDNEY
     Clemenger Proximity Pty Ltd        ST LEONARDS NSW
     CNet Direct                        BROADWAY NSW
     Cojo                               CHATSWOOD NSW
     Colourcraft Printing Pty Ltd       KEYSBOROUGH VIC
     Commonwealth Bank                  SYDNEY 
     Commonwealth Securities Limited    SYDNEY 
L  T Comprite Pty Ltd                   RED HILL  QLD

L    Construction Research of Aust.     VICTORIA PARK WA
   T Contact Centres Australia Pty Ltd  SURRY HILLS NSW
   T Controlled Marketing               WEST PERTH
     Cumming Agency & Studios Pty Ltd   DARLINGTON
     Curtis Jones & Brown Advertising   BALMAIN NSW
   T Customers 1 to1 Pty Ltd            CHATSWOOD NSW
     CW Agencies Inc                    VANCOUVER BC  0
     Dale and Waters                    PERTH   WA
     Dalton Fine Paper                  SCORESBY VIC
     Data Active                        ORMOND VIC
     Data Demographics Pty Ltd          SYDNEY
     Data Solutions Australia           NORTH SYDNEY
     Database Communications Pty Ltd    MELBOURNE
     Database Consultants Australia (DCA) NORTH MELBOURNE  
     DataTools Pty Ltd                  PARRAMATTA NSW
     Day-Timers Pty Limited             HORNSBY NSW
     Demedia Australia Pty Ltd          EAST BURWOOD VIC
     Desktop Marketing Systems Pty Ltd (DTMS) BLACKBURN  VIC
     Deutsche Post Global Mail (Aust.)  MASCOT NSW
     Dibbs Barker Gosling Lawyers       SYDNEY
     Diners Club Pty Ltd                MELBOURNE
   T Direct Connect                     SYDNEY
     Direct Mail & Marketing Pty Ltd    DANDENONG SOUTH VIC
     Direct Mail Services Pty Ltd       MASCOT NSW
     Direct Marketing Services Pty Ltd  CREMORNE JUNCTION NSW
     Direct Marketing Software          TOOWONG QLD
     DK Marketing Pty Ltd               BUNDALL QLD
     dmc Direct Print Solutions         BURWOOD VIC
     Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd        LANE COVE NSW
     Draft                              SYDNEY
L    Drake List Management              MELBOURNE
     Dun & Bradstreet                   MELBOURNE
     Dymocks (NSW) Pty Ltd              SYDNEY
     Dynamic Press                      DEE WHY NSW pty ltd                SOUTH YARRA VIC
     e-fill Pty Ltd                     PORT MELBOURNE
     Elcom Credit Union Ltd             GOROKAN NSW
     Elders Ltd                         ADELAIDE
L    Emailcash Marketing Pty Ltd        CHATSWOOD NSW
     Encyclopaedia Britannica Aust. Ltd NORTH SYDNEY
     Endeavour Foundation               FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD
     Energex Retail Pty Ltd             BRISBANE
     EnergyAustralia                    SYDNEY
     Enterprise Marketing Pty Ltd       MOSMAN NSW
     Envelope Specialists               OSBORNE PARK WA
     Epitact Pty Ltd                    KENMORE EAST QLD
     Ergon Energy Pty Ltd               BRISBANE CENTRAL
     Erskine Dental                     MACKSVILLE NSW
     ESG Direct                         SYDNEY
     Euro RSCG Partnership              NORTH SYDNEY
     Evalue                             SURRY HILLS NSW
     Express Logistics International    ALEXANDRIA NSW
     EXTRAFILM                          SOUTHPORT QLD
     Ezyhealth Company Pty Ltd          GOLD COAST MC
     f2- Australia & New Zealand Pty Ltd PYRMONT NSW
     Fairfax                            SYDNEY
     Faxem International Pty Ltd        NEWPORT NSW
     FCB Sydney                         PYRMONT NSW
     Finger Graphics Pty Ltd            ELTHAM NORTH VIC
     Flight Centre Limited              BRISBANE
     Flightcentre Corporate             SYDNEY
     FOXTEL Management Pty Ltd          SYDNEY
     Friend Group Pty Ltd               MILLERS POINT NSW
     Fuel Marketing Solutions Pty Ltd   RICHMOND VIC
     Fuji Xerox Australia               NORTH RYDE NSW
     Future Sources                     ALEXANDRIA NSW
     Gallery Global Network Ltd         EAST SYDNEY
     GE Capital Finance Australia       RICHMOND VIC
     Gembold Holdings Pty Ltd           PERTH
     George Patterson Bates             SYDNEY
     Geospend - Div. of Australia Post  MELBOURNE
L    Global Contact Solutions Pty Ltd   SURREY HILLS VIC
     Global Loyalty                     NORTH SYDNEY
     Gold Corporation                   PERTH
     Golden Casket Lottery Corp. Ltd.   COORPAROO D.C QLD
     Government Employees Superannuation Board  PERTH
     Greater Building Society Ltd       HAMILTON NSW
     Greenpeace Australia Pacific Ltd   SYDNEY
     Grey³ Pty Ltd                      KINGSTON ACT /
                                        MILSONS POINT NSW /

     Guide Dog Ass. of NSW and ACT      CHATSWOOD NSW
     Guide Dog Association of Victoria  KEW VIC
     Harlequin Enterprises (Australia)  CHATSWOOD DC NSW
     Harstel Pty Ltd - Celebrity Wigs   MELBOURNE
     Heritage Fine Wines                SYDNEY
     Hewlett Packard                    NORTH RYDE NSW
     Hi Fert Pty Ltd                    MELBOURNE
   T Hogan Marketing Services           SYDNEY
     Holiday Concepts Corporation P/L   RICHMOND VIC
     Home Building Society Ltd          EAST PERTH
     Hopewiser Ltd                      MELBOURNE

     Horizon Media                      NEUTRAL BAY NSW
     Horwitz Publications Pty Ltd       ST LEONARDS NSW
     HPA Pty Ltd                        MATRAVILLE NSW
     HSBC Bank Australia Limited        SYDNEY
     Hulsbosch Pty Ltd                  NEUTRAL BAY NSW
     Hyundai Automotive Distributors    CONCORD WEST NSW
     ICLP Pty Ltd                       CROWS NEST NSW
   T ICT Australia Pty Ltd              SYDNEY
     IDG Communications Pty Ltd         ST LEONARDS NSW
     iGo Direct Pty Ltd                 SOUTH MELBOURNE
     IIR Pty Ltd                        NORTH SYDNEY
   T iLeo                               MCMAHONS POINT NSW
     Illawarra Mutual Building Society  WOLLONGONG
L    IncNet - Marketing Orientations    NORTH SYDNEY
L    Independent Direct Marketing Solutions ROZELLE
     Informa Australia Pty Ltd          SYDNEY
   T Information Dialling Services      WATERLOO DC NSW
     Information Technology Mailing Services SOUTHPORT BC QLD
     ING Direct                         SYDNEY
     ING Marketing & Advertising        GLEBE NSW
     Innotek Australia Pty Ltd          MUDGEERABA QLD
     Innovations Direct                 FRENCHS FOREST NSW
     Insurance Australia Group          SYDNEY
     Insuranceline Pty Ltd              SYDNEY
     Intech Solutions                   BONDI JUNCTION NSW
     Integrated Mailing Services        TULLAMARINE VIC
     Integrated Options                 THE ROCKS NSW
     International Masters Publishers   SYDNEY
     Intouch Call Centre Services       MILTON QLD
   T IT Direct Pty Ltd                  RYDALMERE  NSW
     J.S McMillan Pty Ltd               REGENTS PARK NSW
     Jaeger Fine Papers Pty Ltd         BROOKVALE  NSW
     JDA Solutions                      JOLIMONT WA
     JMG Marketing (Aust) Pty Ltd       PERTH 
     Job Find Centre                    SYDNEY
     Kinergy Pty Ltd                    SURRY HILLS NSW
     Kirin Direct Marketing             MONA VALE NSW
     Kleenmaid Pty Ltd                  MAROOCHYDORE SOUTH QLD
     Lavender                           SYDNEY
     Legends Genuine Memorabilia        CAMPERDOWN NSW
   T Legion Interactive Pty Ltd         EAST SYDNEY
     Lilyfield Printing                 REGENTS PARK NSW
     Linda Loose Marketing & Communications PORT MELBOURNE
   T Link Communications Corporation    MELBOURNE
L    List Marketing Australasia         ELSTERNWICK VIC
     LookSmart Australia                SURRY HILLS NSW
     Lotteries Commission of W.A.       OSBORNE PARK WA
     Loud Pty Ltd                       NORTH SYDNEY
     Loyalty Magic Pty Ltd              MELBOURNE
     M&CSaatchi                         SYDNEY
     Magnamail Pty Ltd                  BROOKVALE NSW
     Mail Marketing Works Pty Ltd       LANE COVE NSW
     Mailing and Print Services Pty Ltd FRENCHS FOREST NSW
     Mailmasters Pty Ltd                NORTH SYDNEY
     Make It Happen Pty Ltd             BELROSE  
     Manchester Holdings Pty Ltd        WOOLOOWIN QLD
L    Mardev                             CHATSWOOD NSW
     Marketability                      MELBOURNE
     Marketforce                        WEST PERTH
L    Marketing Direct Australia Pty Ltd KEW  VIC
     Marketing eServices Pty Ltd        SOUTHBANK VIC
     Marketsoft Services Pty Ltd        CROWS NEST NSW
     Markitforce Pty Ltd                MOOREBANK NSW
     Martin College                     SYDNEY
     MasterCard International           NORTH SYDNEY
     McCann Erickson Advertising        FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD
     Medecins Sans Frontieres           BROADWAY NSW
     MercerBell Pty Ltd                 SYDNEY
     Metropolitan Ambulance Service Vic DONCASTER VIC
L    Mezzo Marketing Australia Pty Ltd  NORTH SYDNEY
     Michael Page Sales & Marketing     SYDNEY
     MindWorks Marketing Communications ULTIMO NSW
     Mission Australia                  SYDNEY
     MLC Limited                        MELBOURNE
     Moore Gallagher Pty Ltd            ALEXANDRIA NSW
   T Morganisation Pty Ltd              OBERON NSW
     Morris International               BUNDALL QLD
   T MRM Partners Worldwide             WOOLLOOMOOLOO NSW
     Mt Eliza Business School           MELBOURNE
     Multiple Sclerosis Society of Qld. COORPAROO DC QLD
     National Australia Bank            MELBOURNE
     National Geographic Society        WASHINGTON DC 0
     National Pharmacies                ADELAIDE
     NCR Australia Pty Ltd              NORTH SYDNEY
     Nestle Australia Ltd               SYDNEY
     Network Data Management Pty Ltd    SOUTHPORT QLD
     New Internationalist Publications  ADELAIDE
     New Zealand Post International     ALEXANDRIA NSW
     Niagara Therapy Manufacturing (AUST) LOGANHOLME D.C QLD
     Nickelodeon Australia              SYDNEY 
     Noble Systems Australia Pty Ltd    SYDNEY 
     Norcross Pty Ltd                   MORNINGTON VIC
   T NSP Telemarketing Pty Ltd          AUBURN NSW
     NSW Seniors Card                   SYDNEY
     NSW Teachers Credit Union          HOMEBUSH NSW
     Nutrimetics International (Aust.)  BALMAIN NSW
     Offset Alpine Printing Pty Ltd     LIDCOMBE NSW
     On The Pulse Marketing Pty Ltd     ROZELLE NSW
     One 2 One Marketing Pty Ltd        NORTH SYDNEY
     One To One Marketing Communications KENT TOWN SA
     Opsm Direct                        AUBURN NSW
     Origin Energy                      MELBOURNE
     Oxfam Community Aid Abroad         FITZROY VIC
     P & O Princess Cruises Intern. Ltd. SYDNEY
L    Pacific Micromarketing             MELBOURNE
     Pacific Publications               MCMAHONS POINT NSW
     Pack One & Post                    ROCKDALE DC NSW
     Pathfinder Solutions               MELBOURNE
     Penfold Buscombe                   MT WAVERLEY VIC
     Performance Edge Systems           SYDNEY
     Permail Pty Ltd                    LANE COVE NSW
     Phoenix Society Incorporated       MARLESTON SA
     Pinpoint Pty Ltd                   BALMAIN NSW
     Placard Pty Ltd                    BAYSWATER VIC
     PMP Distribution / Print           MOORABBIN VIC
     Police & Nurses Credit Society Ltd EAST PERTH
     Police Credit                      CARLTON VIC
     Post Data                          OSBORNE PARK  WA
     Preferred Design Pty Ltd           LABRADOR QLD
L    Prime Prospects Pty Ltd            FITZROY VIC
     ProVision Eye Care Pty Ltd         PRAHRAN VIC
     Publicis Dialog                    EAST SYDNEY /
                                        SOUTH BRISBANE 

     Qantas Airways Ltd                 MASCOT NSW
     QAS Pty Ltd                        NORTH SYDNEY
     QM Technologies Pty Ltd            SOUTH BRISBANE
     R.S.L.A.(QLD Branch) War Veterans' Homes Art Union 
                                        RED HILL QLD

     RAC                                PERTH  WA
     RACV                               NOBLE PARK NORTH VIC
     Radio Rentals                      PROSPECT SA
     RAMS Home Loans Pty Ltd            SYDNEY 
     Rapp Collins Australia             ULTIMO NSW
     RCI Pacific Pty Ltd                GCMC QLD
     Reader's Digest                    SYDNEY
     Recruit Direct                     CROWS NEST NSW
     ReMark Asia Pacific Pty Ltd        NORTH SYDNEY
     Renard                             CHIPPENDALE NSW
     Resonate Solutions Pty Ltd         NORTH SYDNEY
     Response Direct Publishing Pty Ltd DOUBLE BAY NSW
     Response Systems International     DOUBLE BAY NSW
     Robe-John & Associates Pty Ltd     HAWTHORN EAST VIC
     Ross Direct Recruitment            MCMAHONS POINT NSW
     Royal Automobile Association of SA MILE END SA
     Royal Blind Society of NSW         BURWOOD NSW
     Royal Children's Hospital Foundation  HERSTON QLD
     Royal Doulton Company              GORDON NSW
     Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Victorian Section)
                                        ST KILDA VIC

     Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children 
                                        PARRAMATTA NSW

     Royal Victoria Institute For The Blind MELBOURNE
     Saatchi & Saatchi                  THE ROCKS NSW

   T Salmat                             CHESTER HILL NSW
     SAS Institute Australia            LANE COVE NSW
     Scenic Tours and Evergreen Tours   SYDNEY 
     Scholastic at Home                 GOSFORD NSW

     Securities Institute Education     AUSTRALIA SQUARE NSW
     Security Mailing Services Pty Limited  KINGSGROVE NSW
     Seeing Eye Dogs Australia          KENSINGTON VIC
     Select Teleresources               SYDNEY
   T Sensis  (Telstra phone directories) FITZROY VIC
     Service Corporation Intern. Aust.  CROWS NEST NSW
     Seton Australia Pty Ltd            REGENTS PARK NSW
     Shell Company of Australia Ltd     MELBOURNE 
     Shop-A-Docket Pty Ltd              BRIGHTON-LE-SANDS NSW
     Shorter Direct                     EAST PERTH
     Simm Group Marketing Pty Ltd       SOUTH MELBOURNE
     Simon Richards Group Pty Ltd       PORT MELBOURNE
     Simplot Australia Pty Ltd          CHELTENHAM VIC
     Singtel Optus Pty Limited          NORTH SYDNEY
     Sirius Telecommunications          MELBOURNE
   T Smart Health Australia (Aust)      BALACLAVA VIC
     South Australian Tourism Commission  ADELAIDE
     Spark Brand Communications Pty Ltd ULTIMO NSW
     Spicers Envelopes                  PRESTON VIC
     St George Bank                     KOGARAH NSW
     Star City Casino                   SYDNEY
     State Library of NSW Foundation    SYDNEY
   T Stellar Call Centres Pty Ltd       NORTH SYDNEY
     Sterling Mail Order Pty Ltd        PYMBLE NSW
     Storepack Fulfilment               WETHERILL PARK NSW
     Suncorp Metway Ltd                 BRISBANE
     Sunsuper Pty Ltd                   MILTON QLD
     Sydney Swans Limited               PADDINGTON
     Synchro Marketing Australia P/L    NORTH SYDNEY
     Tactics Marketing Pty Ltd          BROOKVALE NSW
     Tactix Creative Pty Ltd            NORTH MELBOURNE
     Tattersalls Gaming Pty Ltd         MELBOURNE
     Telstra Corporation Ltd            MELBOURNE
     Telstra Super Pty Ltd              MELBOURNE MAIL CENTRE 
     Tesselaar Bulbs & Flowers          SILVAN VIC
     Text Pacific                       PYRMONT NSW
     The Age Company Ltd                MELBOURNE
     The Australian Kidney Foundation   ADELAIDE
     The Bakery Marketing Communications ST LEONARDS NSW
     The Benevolent Society             PADDINGTON NSW
     The Brand Agency                   WEST PERTH
     The Cancer Council                 KINGS CROSS
     The Clark Alliance                 WOOLLAHRA NSW
     The Direct Partnership Pty Ltd     ARTARMON NSW
     The Federal Publishing Company     ALEXANDRIA NSW
     The Fred Hollows Foundation        BURWOOD NSW
L    The Great Australian List Company P/L TERRIGAL NSW
     The Intelligent Investor           BONDI JUNCTION NSW
L    The List Bank Pty Ltd              NORTH SYDNEY
     The Loyalty Factor                 ADELAIDE 
L    The Mailing List Centre            SPIT JUNCTION NSW
     The Mailing Professionals          SCMC NSW
     The Marketing Business Pty Ltd     BENDIGO CENTRAL VIC
     The Marketing Department Group     ST LEONARDS NSW
     The Marketing Store Worldwide      ULTIMO NSW
     The Moult Agency                   THE ROCKS NSW
L    The Prospect Shop Pty Ltd          WOOLLAHRA NSW
     The Quantium Group Pty Ltd         SYDNEY
     The Right Mix Pty Ltd              ADELAIDE
     The Royal Automobile Club of Qld.  BRISBANE 
     The Salvation Army (Sth Terr. Headq.) MONT ALBERT VIC
     The Smith Family                   CAMPERDOWN NSW
     The Spastic Centre of NSW          BROOKVALE NSW
     The Wedgwood Collectors Society    CASTLE HILL NSW
     The Wine Society                   MELBOURNE
   T Thomas Direct Pty Ltd              RUNAWAY BAY QLD
     ThompsonConnect Worldwide          SYDNEY
     Thomson Education Direct           ARTARMON NSW
     Tibet Direct                       CHIPPENDALE NSW
     Ticketek                           SYDNEY 
     Time Inc. Magazines                MILSONS POINT   NSW

     Time Life Australia                SYDNEY
     TKTS Pty Ltd                       NORTH SYDNEY 
     TMP/Hudson Global Resources        SYDNEY
     Tolemy Communications (Australia)  CROWS NEST NSW

     Tonic Communications               GLEBE NSW
     Top Gear Pty Ltd                   SILVERWATER NSW
     Toppik Pty Ltd                     MIDDLE PARK VIC
     Torque Solutions                   MCMAHONS POINT NSW
     Total Advertising & Communications PYRMONT NSW
   T Touch Point Solutions              NEWCASTLE NSW
     Tourism Tasmania                   HOBART
     Tower Australia Ltd                MILSONS POINT NSW
     TrademarkDM Pty Ltd                MELBOURNE
     Trading Post Australia Pty Ltd     PARRAMATTA NSW
     Transamerica Direct Marketing Australia Pty/Ltd =
       = Transamerica Insurance Marketing Asia Pacific

     Trendwest Resorts South Pacific    GOLD COAST 
     Triad Promotional Marketing P/L    DRUMMOYNE NSW
     TXU Pty Ltd                        MELBOURNE
     Vickerman Direct Pty Ltd           SYDNEY
     Viking Office Products Pty Ltd     RYDALMERE NSW
     Virtual Communities                MELBOURNE
     Visible Results Australia P/L      SYDNEY
     Vision Australia Foundation        BRIGHTON VIC
     VisitBritain                       NORTH SYDNEY
     Vodafone Australia                 CHATSWOOD NSW
     WA Sports Centre Trust             CLAREMONT WA
     wam Advertising                    SOUTH MELBOURNE
     Wentworth Mutual                   PERTH  
L    White Horse Direct Marketing       WEST END QLD
     Whybin Lawrence TBWA               PYRMONT NSW
     Wine Directions Australia Pty Ltd  ADELAIDE
     Witness Systems                    NORTH SYDNEY
     World Class Direct Mail            PORT MELBOURNE
     World Vision of Australia          BURWOOD EAST VIC
     WSPA Australia Limited             ST LEONARDS NSW
     Wunderman Pty Ltd                  NORTH SYDNEY  
     X-Beam Australia Pty Ltd           CASTLE HILL NSW

L    Xpedite Systems Pty Limited        SYDNEY
     Young Direct Pty Ltd               NORTH SYDNEY
     Z-Card Asia Pacific                ALEXANDRIA NSW
     Zebra Direction                    RICHMOND VIC
     Zoological Parks Board of NSW      MOSMAN NSW