September 30, 2008 the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission launched the National Do Not Call List. This program is administered through Bell Canada who is responsible for listing numbers and providing them to telemarketers as well as handling any complaints consumers may have. The result is a choice for customers on whether or not to allow contact by telemarketers.
The law making this option available to individuals was passed by the federal government in 2006 which mandates telemarketers respect the privacy of citizens. This not only includes home phones, but fax numbers and cell phones as well making unsolicited telemarketing calls illegal. By violating the provisions contained in the law, telemarketers can face very stiff fines or be shut down completely should customer complaints note multiple offenses.
The privacy of citizens is important. Therefore, it’s important to remember that telemarketers add individuals to a “sucker list” when they get a positive response then sell that information to others. Once on the list, however, costs to those who violate this law can amount to $1,500 per infraction and $15,000 to companies who consistently fail to comply with the mandates of the law. Even so, there are exceptions such as charities and those conducting polls or surveys. Additionally, if business has been conducted within the past 18 months with a particular company they are also allowed to contact previous customers, but they are only allowed to do so for the next 18 months.
Registration is easy and can be completed either through phoning the National Do Not Call List center or signing up through their website. This takes very little time and requires only a few simple steps. Additionally, requesting addition to the list can be accomplished by the center within 24 hours. Telemarketers are then given 31 days to update their lists. Although effective it may mean that calls will not cease immediately, but should they continue a complaint can be filed that could even result in financial compensation for individuals who feel they are being harassed.
It’s important to remember that a number is placed on the list for only five years after which time re-registration must be completed. Additionally, should numbers be changed or added each number must be registered separately. Unfortunately, this law has not found its way to Internet email addresses as yet, but that is being considered throughout the world as contact from solicitors can allow viruses to damage computer systems.
After signing up, should an unsolicited call be received it’s important to get some vital information in order to file a complaint. The Do Not Call center requires the name of the organization or their phone number, your number, and the date of the call in order to track the originator. Since many of these types of calls hide numbers from caller ID systems, it’s important to remember that, by law, solicitors must provide their name and number if requested.
Anyone adding a number to the National Do Not Call List can expect relief from unwanted solicitations by telemarketers. Even after adding a number, however, it may be removed at any time upon request. Protecting personal privacy is important and the fewer people allowed to call the safer the identity of individuals will be.