Telemarketers urged to call on business ethics

NEW Federal laws restricting telemarketing activities will not affect companies which already operate according to industry best practice, say Grafton telemarketers.

From next month, telemarketing will be closely regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Operating hours will be fixed and a national Do Not Call Register established to protect consumers from unwanted calls.

Grafton telemarketing company Power Results believes its staff do the right thing.

Power Results staff have made 5000 phone calls every weekday for the past 12 months. They work from 9am-5pm and never on weekends.

Floor manager Jo Doran said the new standards and Do Not Call Register would not significantly affect how they did business. They would use the register when it comes into play on May 31, but continue their own localised system.

Mrs Doran said it had always been company policy to block a phone number if this was requested by the customer. These requests did not happen often though.

"In the last six months we have had about five people who have asked us not to call them. They realise we have a job to do as well and they actually respect that," she said.

It made a difference what you were ringing for. Power Results worked mainly for power and water suppliers and were not sales-orientated.

They did not ask for credit card details and trained new staff to be polite.

But it was not always that way.

In her 26 years in the industry, she has seen her share of pressure selling. Sydney in the late 1980s was particularly bad.

"You had a target and your job was in jeopardy if you didn't meet it," she said.

Times had changed though and the aggressive sell-at-all-cost had been replaced with a more laidback approach.

She believed many complaints arose from the outsourcing to call centres overseas. They would be covered by the regulations, but whether they adhered to them would be a different story.

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