You just sat down to supper with your family and the phone starts ringing. It's another telemarketer. How many times has this happened to you?
One of the complaints I hear a lot is that people are tired of the constant calls from telemarketers. As my party's critic for consumer affairs, this is one of the issues I'm working to address.
There are some regulations in place already to prevent you from receiving unwanted marketing calls. For example, you may already be aware of the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), a registry of personal phone numbers that telemarketers are not permitted to call. If a telemarketer violates the DNCL rules, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) may impose a penalty of up $1,500 per violation for individuals and up to $15,000 per violation for corporations.
You can add your phone number to the DNCL by calling 1-866-580-3625. Remember, you have to update your registration every five years.
Registered charities, newspapers and opinion polls are exempt from the DNCL. If you are registered and still receive a call from a non-exempt telemarketer, you can make a complaint at the phone number above or at www.LNNTE-DNCL.gc.ca.
Market Research Intelligence Association conducted a survey on the effectiveness of the National DNCL in April 2012. Their results showed that 78 per cent of Canadians who registered their number on the National DNCL claim to be experiencing fewer unsolicited telemarketing calls. However, I hear from many people that they continue to receive calls and I believe the federal government must continue to strengthen the rules and improve enforcement. One issue I'm exploring is how to hold Canadian companies responsible when they hire foreign telemarketing firms who violate the DNCL rules.
In addition, all telemarketers, even those who are exempt from the DNCL, are required to keep their own internal do not call lists. When you receive a call, you can ask to have your number added to their do not call list, or you can contact the organization directly to have your number placed on their list. The organization must keep your number on their do not call list for five years.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on this issue. Are you receiving too many unwanted calls? Have you received fewer calls since registering on the DNCL? How do you think the rules can be improved? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 426-2217.