Unwelcome or Nuisance Calls

Unsolicited Calls

If you find that you are receiving unsolicited calls from people asking survey questions, or telemarketers trying to sell you something (often called a “cold call”), you can register your phone number on the Do Not Call Register by completing a form online, or by calling their dedicated phone line.  Registration is free, and you only need to do it once.

Once you have registered, telemarketers have to remove your number from their phone lists within 30 days. If you receive a call after this time, you are able to make a complaint.

The Do Not Call Register also works for fax numbers and mobile numbers.

Nuisance and Prank Calls

Nuisance or prank calls can be extremely annoying.  They could either be hang-up calls, they could be hoax calls, or the caller may be silent or abusive or obscene.  Either way, if you have a problem with nuisance calls, there are things that you can do to get them to stop.

If the caller is threatening your life, you should immediately call the police on 000.

If the caller is blocking your landline and not hanging up, you can simply replace the receiver and not pick it up again for at least five minutes.  This should clear the line.

If the calls are abusive or obscene, try not to engage with the caller, and simply hang up. If you are receiving abusive or obscene text or picture messages, do not reply.

Of course, some mobile phones have the ability to block calls from a specific number, but if the caller has hidden their number, the calls are a little harder to stop.

If the calls are persistent, your phone provider should be able to help you.  Depending on the circumstances, and the phone company, they should have practical advice and may be able to help block persistent callers, or be able to liaise with the police to help trace the calls where necessary.

You should try and keep a list of the calls or texts, and record the date and time of each call – this will make it much easier for your phone company to find the nuisance calls on their records.

Telstra customers can call 13 2200, and request a callback from the Unwelcome Calls Team by saying “unwelcome calls”, or by calling the team direct on 1800 805 996 between 6am and midnight, or by filling in the online form.  Telstra will advise you what they can and can’t do, and the information that you should record in order to help them investigate.

If you are with Optus, you can contact them for help, but you will need specific information about time and dates of calls or texts, and the number of nuisance calls or texts will have to be at certain levels before they will act.  Check out what information Optus need you to record here.

Customers with Vodafone need to supply exact details on the nuisance calls (date and exact time, and how long the call lasted) when they make initial contact with Vodafone. You can contact them by calling 1555 on your mobile, or 1300 650 410 from a landline. They require that you receive at least 3 nuisance calls within 2-5 days, or at least 10 calls over 24 hours before they can help you.