CRTC hangs up on 85 rogue telemarketers
In an unprecedented “sting” operation, the CRTC has reprimanded 85 telemarketers for a range of violations of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, which include the rules respecting Canada’s National Do Not Call List.
The enforcement action follows a five-month investigation, and appears to be the latest salvo in the Commission’s “get tough” approach to violators of the telemarketing rules. However, rather than the attention-getting million dollar fines levied in recent years against some major telephone companies, the latest wave of enforcement focused more on the small business community.
In fact, in the enforcement action announced on April 2, 2012, administrative monetary penalties totalling a modest $41,000 were imposed on 11 of the companies investigated, several of whom operate as sole proprietorships. The remainder were issued citations for failing to register with the National Do Not Call List operator or subscribe to the National Do Not Call List.
Violations also included the use of “robo calls” for the purpose of solicitation, which is prohibited under the Commission’s rules.
As part of its mandate, the CRTC receives complaints and conducts investigations of alleged non-compliance with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. It is authorized by the Telecommunications Act to impose administrative monetary penalties on violators of up to $1,5000 for and individual and $15,000 for a corporation, for each violation.
Last year, the Commission also stepped up its efforts against foreign telemarketers calling into Canada, first reaching an agreement with two Mexican companies related to non-compliant telemarketing activity, then announcing the creation of an International Do Not Call Network to facilitate international cooperation on telemarketing enforcement initiatives.