Telelisting to pay $260,000 for violating the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules

Feb 5, 2015, OTTAWA, ON and GATINEAU, QC /CNW/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced today that Hamel Système d'Information 2000 Inc., also known as Telelisting, will pay
$260,000 in monetary penalties as part of a settlement for violations of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. Telelisting provides telephone directory services for online lead generation.

Acting on information received from Canadians, the CRTC investigated Telelisting for alleged violations of the Rules. The CRTC concluded that the company had divulged contents of the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) to its clients in violation of the Rules.

During the period from July 10, 2012, to July 10, 2014, Telelisting shared contents of the DNCL with persons outside its organization; those persons had not paid a subscription fee to the DNCL operator or were not subscribers. In addition to paying the penalty, Telelisting has committed to complying with the Rules in the future by voluntarily implementing a comprehensive corporate compliance program and contributing to awareness of the Rules within the Real Estate industry.

The CRTC would like to reiterate that it is the duty of anyone making telemarketing calls to comply with the Rules. The use of third-party telephone directory services is not a replacement for a subscription to the DNCL. All telemarketers, including real estate agents and brokers, must subscribe to the DNCL. Unless they are making telemarketing calls that are not subject to the Rules, telemarketers are required to subscribe to the DNCL to obtain a list of numbers they may not call and update their own lists.

The CRTC is continuing to enhance its monitoring to ensure telemarketers follow the Rules, and to reduce the number of unwanted calls to Canadians. The CRTC can discuss corrective actions with individuals, firms or organizations engaged in telemarketing, which may lead to a settlement that includes an administrative monetary penalty and other corrective measures. The CRTC can also issue warnings and citations, conduct inspections and issue notices of violation.

To date, the CRTC's enforcement efforts have yielded over $5.7 million in monetary penalties.

About the National Do Not Call List

The DNCL was launched in 2008 to protect Canadians from unsolicited telecommunications. Canadians may register permanently on the List at no charge. Over 12.7 million numbers are currently registered on the List.

Canadians can register their numbers, verify whether a number is on the List or file a complaint about a telemarketer by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (3625) or visiting www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca.

Quick Facts

  • Telelisting will pay $260,000 as part of a settlement for violations of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.
  • The use of third-party telephone directory services is not a replacement for a subscription to the DNCL when telemarketing calls are being made.
  • The Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules are a set of strict rules that individuals, companies and organizations must follow when making telemarketing calls.
  • The CRTC is committed to protecting Canadians and is continuing to enhance its monitoring to ensure that all telemarketers follow the Rules.
  • To date, the CRTC's enforcement efforts have yielded over $5.7 million in administrative monetary penalties.

 

Quote
"The information that Canadians have provided to the National Do Not Call List administrator has been extremely helpful to us in our investigation of Telelisting. We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that reselling information obtained from a subscription to the List is forbidden, and that it is the duty of anyone making telemarketing calls to comply with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules."
Manon Bombardier, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, CRTC

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ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY

NOTICE FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS AND BROKERS

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today levied an administrative monetary penalty of $260,000 against Hamel Système d'Information 2000 Inc., a company that unlawfully provided real estate agents and brokers with access to the contents of the National Do Not Call List through its Telelisting website, an online directory service.

The Telelisting case provides an opportunity for two important reminders to real estate professionals. First, no one is allowed to sell or provide access to the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) – or any portion of the list – to anyone outside its organization. Second, any real estate agents or brokers must first be registered and subscribed with the National DNCL Operator before making telemarketing calls to Canadians.

If you are a real estate agent or a broker whose business depends on referrals for sales, and who calls consumers directly to promote your business, you are considered to be making telemarketing calls. You must therefore register with the National DNCL and follow the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules in order to comply with the law.

What is a telemarketing call?

Anyone who contacts consumers for the purpose of selling a product or a service is considered to be making a telemarketing call. This includes professionals such as real estate agents – whether acting on their own or on behalf of a broker – who use referrals to build their businesses.

As a result, real estate brokers wishing to make telemarketing calls must[1]:

  • register and subscribe with the National DNCL Operator
  • pay all applicable fees to ensure their agents may make telemarketing calls
  • ensure their agents have access to up-to-date versions of the National DNCL

 

What are the penalties for violating these rules?

The CRTC takes violations of the National DNCL and the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules seriously. If found in violation, individuals can be issued administrative penalties of up to $1,500 per violation; corporations can be issued penalties of up to $15,000 per violation.

How can I register with and subscribe to the National DNCL?

Getting registered is easy. Simply visit www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca for a complete description of the steps you need to follow, and the technical help you might need to download and use the National DNCL.

Help the CRTC protect Canadians' privacy.

Telemarketing is a valuable source of business for many Canadian companies. As long as it is done within the rules of the National Do Not Call List, the CRTC supports such activities.

Yet we are committed to cracking down on violations. Education – through enforcement advisories such as this – is one tool we use to target specific groups of Canadian businesses that may not be aware of their specific obligations. Should violators persist, the CRTC has the power to levy administrative monetary penalties. In 2013–14 alone, the CRTC levied more than $1 million in such penalties.

Since the National DNCL was created in 2008, more than 12 million Canadians have registered their telephone numbers – a clear signal that they value their privacy. Privacy must be respected and the CRTC is committed to ensuring that all Canadian telemarketing businesses - respect the National DNCL Rules.

 

[1] Some exemptions may apply such as business to business calls or existing business relationship calls. Please see the

Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules

for further details.

SOURCE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

For further information: Media Relations:Media Relations, Tel: 819-997-9403, Fax: 819-997-4245; General Inquiries: Tel: 819-997-0313, TDD: 819-994-0423, Fax: 819-994-0218, Toll-free # 1-877-249-CRTC (2782), TDD - Toll-free # 1-877-909-CRTC (2782)

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