The CRTC has gone after 85 companies for breaking Canada’s Do Not Call list rules. The regulator announced on Monday that it issued citations to 74 telemarketers who failed to register or subscribe to the list. Another 11 companies were assessed monetary penalties for “more significant breaches.”
The latest bundle of fines from the CRTC totalled $41,000. The fines came as the result of a five-month investigation.
According to the CRTC, many of the companies fined were small businesses. Larger companies have faced much more significant penalties in the past, like when GoodLife Fitness was fined $300,000 over robocalls. Bell Canada was fined in December of 2010 to the tune of $1.3 million after it had called Canadians who had registered for the Do Not Call list.
Since the rules were put in place in 2008, the CRTC has lowered the boom on companies for a total of $2.1 million in fines.
“Today’s announcement should serve as a reminder that registering as a telemarketer is a basic requirement,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s chief compliance and enforcement officer. “Anyone making telemarketing calls to Canadians while not registered and subscribed to the list is strongly encouraged to come into compliance as soon as possible.”
In July of 2010, it looked like the national registry was bungled. Whether it was the embarrassing array of exceptions to the rules, enough to keep Pierre Poutine and the robocalls away from CRTC trouble, or the lack of fine collection, the CRTC’s foray into protecting consumers from annoying telemarketers didn’t look to be going anywhere.
It’s still difficult to get data on how much of the $2.1 million in levied fines have actually been collected, of course, but the CRTC does appear to be flexing its muscles at least somewhat. But the complaints are still rolling in, which means companies are slow to learn lessons – especially if the fines are so limply enforced.
“We get hundreds of thousands of complaints, so (the number of violations) didn’t surprise me,” Rosen said. “But we are hoping to reduce those complaints.”
According to the CRTC’s numbers, there are 10 million phone numbers on the national Do Not Call registry.