If you dislike getting unwanted telemarketing calls, starting Tuesday Sept 30, 2008, Canadians will be able to sign up for the new “National Do Not Call List”. The list Is modelled after the U.S. National Do Not Call Registry established in 2003.
[Oct 1 Update: The service is working intermittently right now.]
Once you put your number on the list, telemarketers (with exceptions listed below) cannot call you. If they do, you can report them. They face fines from $1,500 to $15,000 per infraction. The do not call list will not, however, stop calls from:
- registered charities seeking donations
- newspapers looking for subscriptions
- political parties and their candidates, and
- companies with whom you have an existing commercial relationship; for example, if you have done business with a company in the previous 18 months––such as a carpet-cleaning company––that company can call you. The biggest offenders like your bank, telephone company, cable company etc. can still call and harass you. Grr!
Unfortunately your registration lasts only three years. Mark your calendar to register again three years from now.
Canadians may also wish to register with Michael Geist’s free “iOptOut” service which allows Canadian consumers to opt-out of calls from those organizations mentioned above that are otherwise exempt from the national list (click thumbnail for larger view). iOptOut’s FAQ is here.
The legislation that created the national do not call list mandates that when consumers contact an exempt organization requesting not to be called, they too must take that consumer’s number off their call lists. For most consumers contacting each organization one by one would be an onerous task. Most don’t know this is possible, how to do it, where to email or who to contact. Geist’s free iOptOut service automatically contacts those entities on the consumer’s behalf. Slick!
After signing up, you provide the number(s) you want taken off the lists. You are then presented with categories of organizations that you can opt out from. You can opt out of entire categories (like airlines and banks) or opt out of individual companies within any given category. It took me one minute to sign up and another few minutes to fill out the form. I opted out of every company in every category except pollsters. I enjoy participating in polls. As of the date of this post, some 5,279,531 opt-out requests were sent by the service on behalf of more than a million Canadians.
The CRTC has ruled that iOptOut requests are enforceable (see Geist’s post on the ruling here for more information).
[Sept 30 Update: True to Canadian form (can you say "gun registry"), the National-Do-Not-Call list website crashed within hours of starting up this morning and the 1-800 number was deluged by Canadians trying to sign up but unable to get through. As of this moment, the website has yesterday’s page back up saying the service will start today – ha! My suggestion is to give it a few days and try again. For more info click here, here or here.]