Ready-made meals maker Easymeals by Flavour Makers has forked out more than $13,000 in penalties issued by the media watchdog over its telemarketing practices.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) claimed that Easymeals had been making calls to consumers outside of permitted hours, and breaching the Do Not Call Register.
According to ACMA, Easymeals and its Brisbane-based call centre had failed to take into account the time differences across different states, meaning it had been making calls up to two hours earlier than the permissible start time of 9am.
It also found that subsequent calls had been made to people on the Do Not Call Register after they had requested to be removed from further calls.
“Consumers should not be interrupted at unreasonable hours simply because a telemarketer has failed to take Australia’s different time zones into account,” ACMA’s acting chairman Richard Bean said.
“This case demonstrates that telemarketers need to take their obligations under the Telemarketing Industry Standard and the Do Not Call Register Act seriously.”
Under the terms of the register, it is illegal for unsolicited calls to be made to listed numbers, with businesses having 30 days from when a number is added to remove it from their telemarketing lists, unless the person has previously consented to receiving the calls from that particular business.
It is not the first time the company has attracted regulator scrutiny. In August 2016, the ACCC accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from the business, which was spelled slightly differently as Easy Meals by Flavour Makers.
That was after the ACCC alleged it had “made false or misleading representations about the uses or benefits of the meals it supplies”, including claims about its suitability for consumption by diabetics and terms on a competition for free meals.
The Easy Meals website said that is not currently taking any new orders. Requests for comment have been lodged both with Easy Meals and Flavour Makers.