CRTC Fines GoodLife Fitness For Telemarketing Violations

by Gaurav Kheterpal on August 24, 2011

The CRTC has often been criticized for its limp handling of the national do-not-call registry in Canada. Till July last year, the regulatory body issued fines to 22 companies totaling roughly $75,000. However, the total amount of fines collected was merely $3,000.

In December, the CRTC set a much-needed precedent when it lowered the proverbial boom on Xentel DM Inc. and fined the telemarketing firm a colossal $500,000. In March this year, it announced a settlement with Rogers Communications over its use of automated calling devices.

Yesterday, the CRTC announced that Goodlife Fitness Centres has paid a $300,000 penalty to the federal government for using automated systems to phone members of its clubs without permission.

In a press release titled ‘CRTC continues to crackdown on telemarketing violations’, the regulatory body announced that its investigation found that GoodLife had used automated calling devices (robocalls) to solicit its members without obtaining their prior express consent.

“We appreciate GoodLife’s cooperation during our investigation,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer. “Telemarketers that inundate Canadians with unwanted phone calls are not engaging in a legitimate marketing practice. We expect the business community to follow the rules at all times, and we will vigorously investigate breaches.”

The CRTC applies the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules in order to reduce unwanted calls to Canadians. According to the established enforcement process, the CRTC can discuss corrective actions with telemarketers, which may lead to a settlement that includes a monetary penalty or monetary payment.

GoodliFe used robotic calls to inform members of new club openings and invite them to grand opening events, without seeking their consent. The regulatory body determined that 60 such calls had been made between May and December 2010 with automatic dialing devices.  The penalty amounts to $5,000 per violation. GoodliFe is the first Canadian fitness company to be fined for telemarketing violations.

On its part, GoodLife has also agreed to adopt the following measures.

  • immediately cease using automated calling devices for telemarketing purposes without obtaining its members’ prior express consent
  • organize a business education event with the CRTC at the Can-Fit-Pro Consumer and Wellness Show to foster compliance with the telemarketing rules
  • publish corrective notices in newspapers and on its website, and
  • review its compliance policies to ensure ongoing adherence with the CRTC’s telemarketing rules.

CRTC says it has collected over $2.1 million in penalties on behalf of the Receiver General for Canada and $740,000 in payments made to post-secondary institutions. While those numbers seem impressive, CRTC needs to do more in order to lay down a zero tolerance policy against telemarketing violators.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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asdf June 13, 2014 at 10:03 pm

these douchebags have been calling me non-stop for about a month now. I never answer numbers i don’t know and it only sometimes leaves a message. the message is prerecorded but made to sound like a caller. It starts by saying it’s not a solicitation and that there’s a problem with my account there. I don’t know how they got my number, i’ve had it about 10 years and got no junk like this except from people i actually deal with. I’ve never been a member and never will. Gyms are for idiots because everything you do at a gym, you can do free of charge on your own.

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