Bell Canada also makes a $266,000 payment for its use of automated calling devices without consent
OTTAWA-GATINEAU, December 20, 2010 —The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that it has reached a settlement with Bell Canada over the company’s unauthorized telemarketing practices. The CRTC has issued a notice of violation, and Bell Canada has paid an administrative monetary penalty of $1.3 million to the Receiver General for Canada.
Between January and October of this year, calls were made to consumers who had registered their numbers on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) or who were or should have been on Bell Canada’s internal do not call list. These telemarketing practices are contrary to the National DNCL Rules. The CRTC’s investigation found that the calls originated from independent telemarketers hired by Bell Canada to promote and sell its television, telephone, wireless and Internet services.
“All telemarketers must respect the wishes of Canadians who have registered their telephone number on the National DNCL or requested that a telemarketer include their number on its internal do not call list,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s Chief Telecommunications Enforcement Officer. “Even though the calls in this instance were made by third parties, Bell Canada must ultimately ensure that the rules are followed. We appreciate Bell Canada’s willingness to work with us to address our concerns.”
In a separate investigation, the CRTC also found that Bell Canada had used automated calling devices to communicate with its prepaid mobile customers without obtaining their prior express consent. Bell Canada has not admitted fault with regard to its use of automated calling devices. However, upon being made aware of the CRTC’s concerns, Bell Canada voluntarily undertook to:
In addition, Bell Canada has undertaken to review its compliance policies to ensure ongoing adherence with the CRTC’s telemarketing rules. Some of Bell Canada’s improvements have already been implemented and further enhancements are forthcoming.
The CRTC investigates complaints and applies the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, which include the National DNCL Rules, in order to reduce unwanted calls to Canadians. According to the established enforcement process, the CRTC can discuss corrective actions with telemarketers, which may lead to a settlement that includes a monetary payment.
Consumers may register on the National Do Not Call List or file a complaint about a telemarketer by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (3625) or visiting www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca.
The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
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Internal do not call lists
Under the CRTC’s rules, telemarketers must maintain an internal do not call list even if they make calls that are exempt from the National Do Not Call List. If a consumer asks not to be contacted, the telemarketer must add the person’s name and number to its internal list within 31 days.
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.