The fact that Bell was the target is significant for at least two reasons. First, Bell administers the do-not-call list under contract. By targeting the company, it sends the message that no one is above the law. Second, as I wrote last year, Bell was seemingly the top source of complaints among reputable companies:
Working together with University of Ottawa students Sean Murtha and Frances Munn, I recently reviewed more than 60,000 complaints released by the CRTC. The complaints were lodged in late 2008 and early 2009 using the do-not-call list’s Internet-based complaints mechanism. In each case, the complaint included all relevant information with the exception of the complainant’s name and telephone number, which were excluded for privacy reasons. There were hundreds of complaints about automated calls promising cruise vacations or lawncare services. But the undisputed leader among reputable companies was Bell Canada, which alone was the subject of nearly one thousand complaints. In fact, the wireless sector had the distinction of taking the top three spots with Rogers and Telus ranking second and third respectively. There were also hundreds of complaints against Canada’s top financial institutions and retailers including RBC, CIBC, Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust, and Sears.
In an ideal world, the revenues generated by the Bell settlement would be reinvested in further do-not-call investigations so that other major sources of complaints would face possible administrative action.