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Do Not Call List Rules to Protect Consumers

Ottawa – Tuesday, July 3, 2007 – Canada’s national Do Not Call Registry inched closer to reality today as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced the Do Not Call List ground rules.

Today’s CRTC decision was welcomed by consumer groups as it provides consumers with a reasonable outline of what to expect from Canada’s Do Not Call list and allows the search for the operator of the list to go ahead. The list operator will register names on the list and collect fees from the telemarketing industry to pay for it. Consumers will not be charged to place their names on the Do Not Call list.

John Lawford, Counsel with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), stated, “Consumers have been waiting for this list for too long already but these rules are a reasonable compromise between consumers’ right to be left alone and businesses’ desires to sell services over the telephone. Hopefully we can get a list operator and get this going.”

Lawford noted that when the list does come into effect, consumers will have to be on their toes. “You will have to re-register on the Do Not Call list every three years, which is a great inconvenience to consumers. And it will take a while for people to understand that the Do Not Call list will not stop charities from calling you nor companies with which you have done business in the last 18 months.” On the other hand, Lawford noted, the CRTC chose to tighten up the “existing business relationship” definition in this decision, limiting businesses relying on the exemption to their own customers only, not customers of any of their affiliates. “For example, if you are on the Do Not Call list” said Lawford, “the phone company can’t call you about satellite or Internet service if you aren’t already a customer of that service. Likewise, your bank can’t call you about insurance offered by their insurance company, just because you are a bank customer.”

Rules for enforcement, including a fining power of up to $15,000 per violation by a telemarketing company, should help to ensure the Do Not Call list is respected. “We are pleased that the Commission has decided retain this enforcement power itself and not delegate it to the list operator” said Lawford.

The CRTC’s decision also set final rules for all other aspects of how telemarketing, whether by phone or fax, such as permissible telemarketing hours. Finally, since this is a new system, said Lawford, a public awareness campaign is needed. “The CRTC’s requirement on the phone companies to explain the Do Not Call list and telemarketing rules to customers in the front of the white pages and on their websites is really key.”

PIAC is a non-profit organization that provides legal and research services on behalf of consumer interests, and, in particular, vulnerable consumer interests, concerning the provision of important public services.

For more information:

John Lawford
Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002×25 (office)
(613) 447-8125 (mobile)
(613) 562-0007 (fax)

 

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