Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Oh, Canada: Record Year for Outbound Telemarketing Fines

May 12, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

Telemarketing is still a useful and valid business process, particularly in the business-to-business sector. Trained outbound sales reps can gather and warm up leads and pass them on to outside sales personnel. Telemarketing to consumers can be a little trickier, but under certain conditions, it can also be a worthwhile venture. The problems come in when companies cut corners deliberately, or operate out of ignorance of the law. Under those circumstances, telemarketing can become a costly mistake.

In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly regulate telemarketing, and maintain strict rules for the circumstances under which companies can make outbound telephone calls to customers and prospects. Those agencies have handed out many fines – some quite hefty – to players who don’t follow the rules. In Canada, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is responsible for enforcing telemarketing rules and regulations.

The CRTC has been stepping up the fines levied on violators. The commission recently handed out fines to Thrift Magic ($250,000), Québec Loisirs ($200,000), Telelisting ($260,000), Florida-based Consolidated Travel Holdings ($200,000), and one of Canada’s largest media outlets, Metroland ($240,000). Smaller fines were handed out to AcademyOne Learning Ltd., a company offering educational tutoring ($25,000), Eagle Water of Ontario, a water treatment company ($32,500), Outsource 3000 Inc., a telemarketer offering calling services for telemarketing ($15,000) Scentral Cleaning Services, a residential and commercial cleaning company ($20,000) and Ontario Eco Energy Inc. ($30,000).

Altogether, the CRTC issued 32 notices of violation totaling over $2 million in monetary penalties, 16 warning letters and five citations. In most cases, the fines were levied for failing to comply with national do-not-call list regulations which were established in Canada in 2008. Canadian consumers have put 12.8 million numbers of the national do-not-call list to date, and any businesses engaged in outbound telemarketing are required to remain up-to-date with the lists and scrub any numbers that appear on the list from outbound calling schedules.

The CRTC is claiming a banner 2014-2015 year for fines against telemarketing violators. The association said the fines were the result of investigations and collaboration with domestic and international partners.

“I encourage Canadians to continue sending us their complaints regarding unsolicited calls,” said Manon Bombardier, CRTC Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, in a statement. “This support is essential to our work.  It is important to remember that the CRTC’s purpose is not to impose monetary penalties but to encourage compliance with the requirements of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. To do that, we have a duty to remind telemarketers that they must comply with the Rules, whether they are within or outside Canada.”