The Bungling of Do-Not-Call

by Jordan Richardson on July 8, 2010

Those telemarketing companies that always seem to call during dinner were supposed to be subject to a national do-not-call registry in Canada, but it turns out that the enforcement of fines related to the registry is less than effective.

The do-not-call registry was launched by the government in 2008 with promises of fines up to $15,000 if companies violate the rules. Companies were to be dinged that amount if they called anyone on the list, but a spokeswoman for the CRTC said that the regulator has only collected on 4% of do-not-call fines.

The CRTC has fielded over 300,000 complaints since the September ’08 launch of the do-not-call list and has issued fines to 22 companies totalling roughly $75,000. The total amount of fines collected thus far is $3,000.

The do-not-call list is home to over 8.4 million telephone and fax numbers. 70,000 new numbers were added to the list in the last month alone, but a number of exceptions to the rules have left many critics wondering what the point has been all along. And this recent evidence of a lack of general enforcement only serves to further undermine the usefulness of the registry.

One of the so-called exceptions to the rule is that a company can continue to call a customer for up to 18 months after a “business relationship” has ended. This is meant to allow the business the chance to relight the flames, so to speak, and attempt to regain lost customers. Blanket exceptions also cover survey companies, charities, newspapers, and political parties. These groups can keep on calling until “specifically” asked to stop.

With all those exceptions, it’s surprising that the CRTC even managed to get the fines collected that they did. The government has loaded the do-not-call registry with so many loopholes that the most recurrent of telemarketing and unsolicited calls still manage to pipe through. In an interesting twist, exempted groups can actually use the do-not-call list as a calling list.

The CRTC currently reports 73 active investigations into complaints.

The regulatory body has issued 195 letters of warning to telemarketers, explaining how and when those individuals and groups must comply with the rules pertaining to do-not-call lists. If action is not taken in response to the letters, the CRTC is then entitled to propose a fine at their own discretion.

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{ 2 trackbacks }

CRTC Bares Teeth, Fines Telemarketer $500,000 —
August 14, 2012 at 8:33 am
Why Canada's Do-Not-Call List Is A Joke? —
January 16, 2013 at 3:43 am

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