CRTC Strikes Again: Bell Fined $1.3 Million

by Jordan Richardson on December 21, 2010

Just when I thought the CRTC was flexing its muscles yesterday when I reported on the $500,000 fine it imposed on Xentel DM Inc., the regulatory body goes and ups the ante with a whopping $1.3 million fine on Bell Canada.

As if to confirm my somewhat tentative suggestion that the CRTC was finally taking the enforcement of the do not call registry seriously, the fine delivered to Canada’s telecom giant is now the biggest penalty ever imposed by the regulator pertaining to the DNC list. It’s like déjà vu all over again.

According to the CRTC’s investigation between January and October of this year, Bell Canada had third party telemarketers working on their behalf. These telemarketers called some of the Canadians whose names were on the national do not call registry. They also called some Canadians whose names were on Bell’s own internal do not call registries.

The calls came from independent marketers hired by Bell to market various services for the telecom giant, including internet and wireless services.

“All telemarketers must respect the wishes of Canadians who have registered their telephone number on the (do not call list) or requested that a telemarketer include their number on its internal do-not-call list,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s chief telecommunications enforcement officer. “Even though the calls in this instance were made by third parties, Bell Canada must ultimately ensure that the rules are followed.”

Like Xentel a day earlier, Bell says that it has made the necessary changes to comply with the DNC registry. And like Xentel, Bell isn’t fighting the ruling. “The company worked closely with the CRTC to investigate complaints, determining that some independent telemarketers acting on behalf of Bell were found to have violated both the CRTC’s and Bell’s own calling rules,” it said. “No violations were committed by any Bell-operated call centres.”

According to the CRTC’s investigation of Bell, the company also used automated calling machines to contact prepaid mobile customers without consent. Bell has agreed to cease the automated calls as well and paid a $266,000 fine to the Institute for Information and Systems Engineering at Concordia University.

With the CRTC finally picking up the slack on the enforcement of the do not call registry, I think it’s fair to say we haven’t seen the last of these fines. They’ve got the ball rolling now, so it’s just a matter of pushing it downhill.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rehsab Thgir May 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm

They hired new companies to do the same thing. I got a call form an Indian call centre this morning and asked to be put on the DNCL. The telemarketer just said, “Why?” I hung up and, no joke, the telemarketer called back to insult me! Interesting sale approach they have at Bell.

In other news, I am looking for a new phone and internet service provider.

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