Those annoying telemarketers are at it again.
When Lana Foster's sick husband answered a telemarketing call and had to hang up because of a coughing fit, they never expected the woman to call back and leave a shocking message: "This woman who had just called hubby said hello dirty pig...the person coughing on the phone to me...I don't like what you've said to me, then said have a lovely day you dirty rotten pig and hung up", Lana said.
Three years after the Do Not Call Register was launched, 5 million Australian home and mobile phone numbers have been added -- but some telemarketers just don't care.
"There's no point having it. I know my husband has registered for us three times at least", said Aneema Asif.
Signing up and changing to a private number hasn't stopped Muhammad and Aneema being bombarded with up to three telemarketing calls every single day. "It's come to a point where I hate picking up the phone", she added.
"We do notice we have the same industries popping up more frequently than others. Certainly telecommunications providers, holiday companies, real estate agents tend to do a lot of telemarketing", said Jane Cole from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
"Telstra paid over $100,000 for calling numbers on the register and more recently even a small real estate agent in Queensland paid $6,600 for calling numbers on the register. So it doesn't matter how big you are or how small you are", Jane added.
In the last year alone ACMA received 11,229 telemarketing complaints -- that's 30 complaints a day. "What they do is submit their calling list then they get back a list of numbers they can call and numbers they can't call", Jane said.
260,000 people work in the call centre industry, making over 300 million calls a year. If you're wondering why they're so persistent, it's because of the $55 billion in call centre revenue, 20% or $11 billion dollars is made from outbound or telemarketing calls.
"We found that being on the register means you can expect 30% fewer calls. A lot of these call centres generate phone numbers randomly so even if you have a silent number you can't be sure they're not going to call", said Josh Fear from The Australia Institute.
Josh has written a report about the impact of telemarketing and says, "The biggest loophole is an exemption that applies to people or organisations who claim they have an ongoing business relationship with you -- that includes banks and telco's where you might make a transaction with them every month or so, they can claim they have inferred consent to make unsolicited telemarketing calls".
The worst offenders are doing anything they can to get your number, even claiming they're from the government.
John Bonfa registered with the service two years ago. Imagine his surprise when he received a message from the real authority claiming "someone" had requested John's number be taken off the register. "I don't know how they got my number in the first place", he said.
"Scammers are calling people and offering to register their number for a fee which is just really dodgy. You don't need to pay for a Do Not Call registration. The ACMA has gone from
receiving around 5 to 10 complaints about phone scams a month, to 300 complaints a month", Jane said.
To register with the do not call register or if you've been receiving telemarketing calls even though your number is on the register, you'll need to contact the website at: www.donotcall.gov.au or phone 1300 792 958