Come September 30, 2008, Canadians can register on the CRTC’s Do-Not-Call List (DNCL). “It was about time!” you may be saying to yourself. Unfortunately, by some estimates, 85% of outbound telemarketing calls will NOT be affected by this list. Which means only a meager 15% relief for the beleaguered Canadian consumer.
The 85% of calls fall under a number of exemptions in the law: political parties, pollsters, charities, newspapers, and businesses with an existing business relationship with the consumer. These guys can all legally ignore the DNCL.
But don’t give up yet! Michael Geist, law professor at the University of Ottawa, columnist, and all around good guy, offers us another weapon in the struggle to salvage our free time from the clutches of the evil phone vampires: http://iOptOut.ca. This website allows you to send your do-not-call request to up to 150 organizations. It’s been challenged by the Canadian Marketing Association (the patron saint of telemarketers), as well as the Canadian Banker’s Association, who both sent complaints about the legality of the iOptOut.ca process to CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein.
Buddy Konrad’s reply? He supported the iOptOut protocol! (I know, I was surprised too!) In fact, according to Mr. von Finckenstein, organizations would ignore the requests at their own peril: they could be liable to $15,000 fines per infraction! (Is this getting good, or what?)
We’re seriously in danger of believing the CRTC is actually growing a pair and doing it’s job. But let’s wait to see what they do about Bell, Rogers and the BitTorrent throttling problem.