CRTC maintains rules against nuisance telemarketing calls

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that it is maintaining its rules relating to automated calling devices in order to protect the privacy of Canadians.

The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) had proposed changes that would open the door to even greater use of automated calling devices for telemarketing purposes. Specifically, the CMA wished to make automated calls without having express consent when there is an existing business relationship. The CRTC considers that the existing rules are efficient in reducing undue inconvenience to Canadians and that telemarketers must have their express consent before making these types of calls.

The CRTC studied this proposal in the context of a broader public review of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. Following this review, the CRTC has made minor modifications to the Rules to ensure that telemarketers respect Canadians' wishes not to be disturbed in their homes.

When Canadians make a request to be placed on a telemarketer's internal do not call list, that telemarketer will now have 14 days to update their information and remove these numbers from their calling lists. This shorter grace period, which used to be 31 days, means that Canadians will stop receiving telemarketing calls more quickly once they have made their wishes clear to a telemarketer.

In addition, telemarketers using automated calling devices to make an unsolicited call will now be required to briefly identify the purpose of their call at the beginning of the communication. This will enable Canadians to decide right away if they want to continue with the call.

Lastly, telemarketers must make sure that the contact information, such as a telephone number or address, provided during a call remains valid for a minimum of 60 days. There was no validity period for this information previously.

Quick Facts

Automated calling devices are used to dial telephone numbers and automatically deliver a pre-recorded message.

Telemarketers must obtain express consent from Canadians before making calls using automated calling devices. Otherwise, the CRTC's rules prohibit the use of these devices for the purpose of telemarketing.

A person or company using automated calling devices to make unsolicited telecommunications where there is no attempt to solicit must comply with certain conditions, including:

- restricting the calls to certain times during the day

- beginning the calls with a clear message identifying the person on whose behalf the telecommunication is made and a brief description of the purpose of the call, and

- displaying the originating telecommunications number or an alternate telecommunications number where the originator can be reached.

In order to protect the privacy of Canadians, the CRTC is maintaining the current rules guiding the use of automated calling devices for telemarketing purposes.

The CRTC has also made minor modifications to the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules to ensure that telemarketers respect Canadians' wishes not to be disturbed in their homes.

The CRTC's investigations have resulted in close to $3.6 million in penalties issued (paid by telemarketers to the Receiver General for Canada) and $741,000 in other payments (total of $4.3 million).

Canadians have registered over 12 million numbers to the National Do Not Call List.

Organizations: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canadian Marketing Association

Geographic location: Canada

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