Why Canada’s Do-Not-Call List Is A Joke?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on January 16, 2013

In the past, the CRTC has often been severely criticized for its limp handling of the national do not call registry. Till last April, the CRTC had gone after 85 companies for breaking Canada’s Do Not Call list rules. The regulator also 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.”

Two years back, the CRTC had announced joining hands with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and 12 other enforcement agencies to launch an International Do Not Call Network. The network was supposed be co-chaired by the CRTC and the ACMA while the United States Federal Trade Commission would host the secretariat.

Last October, the new CRTC chief reiterated the need to “rebuild” the trust of Canadians by renewing its focus on consumers, creators and citizens and adopt zero tolerance to sensitive issues such as telemarketer violations. This was shortly after the CRTC penalised on two Indian companies for breaking Canada’s telemarketing rules.

On paper, all those measures suggest the CRTC has done a great job of controlling telemarketer violations – right? Wrong!! An undercover investigation by the CBC Marketplace reveals that several foreign telemarketing firms continue to “harass” Canadians on the federal do-not-call list, and worryingly the CRTC is powerless to stop them.

The investigation focused on a call center into a Karachi, Pakistan with the help of hidden cameras. The revelations were startling – supervisor telling employees to lie to customers, saying there is “no need to worry” about Canada’s do-not-call list (DNCL) as well as the use of ‘spoofing’ – fake names and fake numbers. In some cases, customers have even been abused with foul language. Clearly, there’s no fear of the CRTC and no respect for the DNCL.

Last October, the CRTC found two Indian firms – Pecon Software Limited and Avaneesh Software Private Limited guilty of making unsolicited telemarketing calls to Canadians who had registered their numbers on the National Do Not Call List. Pecon was fined $495,000, while Avaneesh was  fined $12,000 but this has been a one off case. The CRTC simply isn’t equipped well enough to deal with technology advancements such as spoofing, thereby making it extremely difficult to identify and trace telemarketers.

To make the matters worse, the CRTC has no jurisdiction outside Canada, rendering it powerless against overseas offenders. The planned international  network to curb this issue is still in the works and unfortunate as it is – Canada’s do-not-call list continues to be a joke, at least for now.

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


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