Companies pay $80,000 for making non-compliant robocalls
OTTAWA, April 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that Ontario Consumer Credit Assistance and Quick Connect Solutions have paid penalties of $69,000 and $11,000, respectively, to the Receiver General for Canada as part of a settlement over their telemarketing practices. These companies promote debt relief and consolidation services to Canadians.
The CRTC issued a notice of violation after its investigation found that Ontario Consumer Credit Assistance and Quick Connect Solutions had failed to comply with the telemarketing rules. These companies used automated calling devices (also known as robocalls) to promote their services to consumers without obtaining prior express consent.
"We appreciate that Ontario Consumer Credit Assistance and Quick Connect Solutions fully cooperated with our investigation and committed to changing their telemarketing practices," said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC's Chief Compliance Officer. "We will continue to work with telemarketers to ensure they are obeying the rules at all times. Canadians are encouraged to file a detailed complaint each time they receive an unwanted telemarketing call."
In addition to paying monetary penalties, Ontario Consumer Credit Assistance and Quick Connect Solutions have agreed to:
- immediately cease making robocalls to promote or sell services and products without obtaining the recipient's express consent
- publish a corrective notice on Ontario Consumer Credit Assistance's website
- review their compliance programs and appoint a compliance officer to ensure ongoing adherence with the CRTC's telemarketing rules
- implement training and education programs for staff, and
- provide an annual report to the CRTC for the next five years, which must document consumer complaints and the steps taken to resolve them.
About the CRTC's enforcement measures
The CRTC enforces the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules in order to reduce unwanted calls to Canadians. According to its enforcement process, the CRTC can take corrective action with telemarketers, issue warnings and citations, conduct inspections and issue notices of violation. To date, the CRTC's efforts have yielded over $2.5 million in penalties and over $740,000 in payments to post-secondary institutions.
The CRTC also serves as co-chair of the International Do Not Call Network. This network facilitates cooperation among its members, which consists of a dozen agencies that enforce telemarketing rules in their respective countries. Members meet annually to establish best practices and encourage the development of robust telemarketing laws around the globe.
About the National Do Not Call List
The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) was launched in 2008 to shield Canadians from unsolicited telemarketing calls and faxes. Canadians may register on the National DNCL at no charge or file a complaint about a telemarketer by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (3625) or visiting www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca. Once a number is added to the National DNCL, telemarketers have 31 days to update their calling lists. Over 11 million numbers are currently registered on the list.
The CRTC is an administrative tribunal that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
Additional information on automated calling devices
Automated calling devices are used to dial telephone numbers and automatically deliver a pre-recorded message. The CRTC's Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device Rules prohibit telemarketers from using these devices to sell or promote a product or service unless a consumer has consented to be called by them.
They can, however, be used by police and fire departments, schools and hospitals if they have a valid public service message to communicate. Automated calling devices can also be used for appointment reminders and thank you calls.
For more information, please see the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.
SOURCE: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
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