If that’s for me, I’m cleaning my ducts

If there’s anything more foolish than the National Do Not Call List, I’d like to hear about it. But not by phone, thank you. Run by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the list works like this: you register your phone number and thereby reduce the quantity of telemarketing calls you receive. No one I know believes this really works.

First, there are far too many groups permitted to make telemarketing calls. Those with a hall pass include registered charities, political parties and candidates, market research firms, and newspapers seeking subscribers. In the latter group, the Toronto Sun and the Toronto Star are particularly egregious. On average I hear from both of them at least twice a week. The National Post seems to rely instead on flyers like the one recently offering three months at $20 a month with a $50 gift card good for purchases at The Bay. Time was when such a valuable premium would have been offside but I guess such rules no longer exist.

Second, those not permitted to call do so with impunity. The CRTC last October fined a software firm in India $495,000 but such victories are rare. Since launching the list in 2008, the total amount of fines levied is just $2.5 million. The only agency with a worse record in a world full of con artists is the Ontario Securities Commission. If the CRTC had just followed up on the companies I complained about they could have by now eliminated the national debt. But for all my whistle-blowing, my phone keeps ringing. There’s a duct cleaning company that I hear from more than family. I’ve asked them to take my name off the list, I’ve sent them to phony addresses, I’ve played loud music down the line. Those calls keep a-coming.

In the many times I’ve dutifully emailed details of my complaints to the CRTC, I can honestly say that there’s neither been any follow-up nor any diminution in the number of calls. Maybe the CRTC also has a Do Not Listen List. If so, I’m on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *