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New Rules for Canadian Telemarketers

Tougher regulations for telemarketers in Canada

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The CRTC, Canada's telecommunications and broadcasting regulator, issued a decision on May 21, 2004 which strengthens the regulations for telemarketers in Canada. The tougher rules are a result of extensive public consultations, and are effective October 1, 2004.

At the same time, the CRTC came out in support of the creation of a Do Not Call list, however it said the effective implementation of such a list and registry would require

  • adequate start-up funding
  • the appointment of an administrator of the list and database
  • the ability to charge fees to cover ongoing administrative expenses, and
  • the power to impose penalties on persons violating rules.
    All of these would require new legislation.

    Company-specific Do Not Call Requests

  • If a customer asks to be put on a company's Do Not Call list, telemarketers must act on the request during the same call, and not require the customer to call another number or take any other action.
  • Telemarketers must provide a unique registration number to any customer making a Do Not Call request to confirm receipt of the request.
  • When receiving a Do Not Call request, the telemarketer must ask if the customer wants the request to apply to just the specific organization's list, or to the telemarketer's full list of organizations.

    Identification of Telemarketers

  • At the beginning of a call or fax, telemarketers must give information about the organization on whose behalf the call or fax is being made, as well as information on the telemarketer who is making the call.
  • At the beginning of the call or fax, the telemarketer must also provide a toll-free telephone number, or toll-free fax number in the case of telemarketing faxes, which the customer can call with questions or comments.
  • Both these pieces of information must be given before any other communication is made, including asking for an individual by name.

    Predictive Dialing Devices

    Some telemarketing organizations use automatic dialers to place telephone calls or send faxes. If a telemarketing agent is not available when the call is answered, then a "dead air" or hang-up call is the result. The CRTC's new rules say that

  • telemarketers who use Predictive Dialing Devices must not abandon more than five percent of their calls per month, and must keep records of evidence to show that they have complied with this rule.

    Tracking Complaints and Statistics

    The CRTC also set out requirements for better tracking and reporting of telemarketing complaints and statistics and directed telephone companies to explain telemarketing rules to their customers through both billing inserts and in the introductory pages of their White Pages telephone directories.

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