Unwanted calls can be annoying and frustrating. Let’s examine the problems this has caused in light of consumer rights organisation Choice and their recent investigation, which found that 25% of Australians receive unwanted calls from charities requesting donations on a weekly basis.

Background

In their investigation, Choice reported that the most targeted group for unsolicited charity calls was the elderly. A variety of manipulation tactics were used by organisations in requesting donations. As a result, those receiving the calls would become reluctant to answer their phone with some considering disconnecting their landlines.

Why Is There A Problem?

The calls have arisen from an apparent “loophole” in the preventative measure of the Do Not Call Register. The Register allows consumers to reduce their chances of receiving unwanted telemarketing calls for free by listing their home or mobile number under the register.

Charity organisations are currently an exception to the Do Not Call Register, and CHOICE is lobbying for change to allow consumers the ability to also opt-out of these types of calls.

Ethical and Legal Issues

While there is importance in charities raising funds for their causes, CHOICE argues that in some cases, the frequency of calls on vulnerable members of society may constitute harassment.

Moreover, there have also been allegations from both CHOICE and media group Newscorp that charities are paying for-profit call centres as funds are raised. However, under the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991, the expenses payable by charity organisations must not exceed 50% of the income that they obtain.

Conclusion and Practical Advice

It is important for consumers to be aware of the tactics that may be used by organisations to receive donations, even if they are for charitable causes. Individual background checks into different charities should be made to avoid donations to unwanted or unknown organisations.

You can also take measures to actively reject offers to donate and remain cautious when asked to give out personal financial details to unsolicited callers.


What experiences have you had with unwanted calls? Let us know by tagging us @Lawpath.

Carmen Zhu

Carmen is a Paralegal working in our content team which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. With an interest in consumer and professional negligence law, her primary focus is on the importance of expanding legal awareness to business longevity.