Bell to administer telemarketer do-not-call list
The CRTC has picked Bell Canada to operate the National Do Not Call List, giving the company a five-year mandate to block calls from telemarketers for customers who request the service.
Bell will be responsible for registering numbers, providing telemarketers with up-to-date versions of the list and receiving customer complaints about telemarketing calls. The CRTC said it has not yet been decided how those complaints will be resolved, but that should be determined early in the new year.
Phone customers can register their numbers with Bell at no extra charge, and telemarketers are required to subscribe to the list, which the CRTC said must be operational by Sept. 30. Telemarketers must pay Bell to operate the list.
Certain organizations are exempt from the list. They include charities, political parties, opinion-polling firms, newspapers andorganizations that have an existing relationship with the customer.
Currently, people have to contact each telemarketing company individually to ask for their numbers to be stricken from the lists. With the new registry, they'll be able to make one call and be added to a master list that each telemarketing company will be bound to follow.
Violators will face a hefty fine at $15,000 per infraction for companies and $1,500 for individuals.
The CRTC in July began taking applications to run the list from interested parties. It said on Friday that four firms had applied, but only Bell was able to fulfil the necessary criteria, which included the financial resources to offset startup costs, as well as the knowledge, experience and management staff to run such a list.
Some industry observers have been critical of allowing the private sector to run the list, saying its administration belongs with the CRTC.
Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor,in October wrote on his blog that "the do-not-call list process has degenerated into a farce" by giving total control to the private sector.
The list's registration and fee requirementswill place an undue strain on Canadian businesses, he wrote.