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Do-Not-Call List Criticism Mounts as Unwanted Calls Continue

Criticism over the do-not-call list has begun to mount as Canadians grow increasingly frustrated with a system that was designed to fail from the beginning.  As I have long argued, the do-not-call list was better characterized as the do-not-hesitate-to-call list given the number of exceptions and jurisdictional loopholes.  Sure enough, CTV and Global have covered the poor performance of the do-not-call list this week, noting the exceptions, the jurisdictional problems, and the fear that the list itself is being misused by out-of-country operators.  With nearly six million numbers registered, killing the list is not option.  Rather, the solution lies in fixing the obvious problems (scaling back the exceptions, working with the U.S. on the jurisdictional problems) and using the CRTC's enforcement powers to levy some tough penalties for those that violate the law.

P2PNet.net also posts a troubling report that indicates that companies included on my iOptOut service are not respecting the opt-out requests despite a letter from the CRTC indicating that such requests are enforceable.  The P2PNet.net story singles out Bell for non-compliance.  If others have experienced similar cases of non-compliance, please let me know.

40 Comments

  1. yup, still getting calls
    I signed up for both of them and I still get a lot of calls. Most of them are faked numbers or unknown name/unknown number stuff. I pick up and no one is there.

    They need to stop stuff like this. They should also allow people to block more then just 12 numbers and/or have a place to put in numbers that keep calling and if the number gets reported x number of times with the same complaint it gets blocked at the phone company and doesn’t make it to the peoples homes. At the very least allow people to block up to 100 to 200 numbers, its not like it takes much to keep info like that in a database.

    There are times I get a call from 000-000-0000 2 or 3 times a day.

    The government do not call list is a joke, and companies aren’t respecting ioptout as they should be.

    Course if I had the know how I would just create a box that sits on your phone line and looks at the caller ID number and saves all the blocked numbers to a text file that sits on a 2 to 4 gig SD card for virtually unlimited number blocking. Know the number is a junk call, hit the kill button and it puts the number on the list. It should be able to block a call based on either the number or the name (as some number come in as blocked but have a name)

    Reason I say store it in a text file on a SD card is because they are cheap and anyone can edited a text file if needed and they could easily back it up and even share it.

    If there is any company out there that knows how to do this, make this box, sell it for 10 bucks each. I’m sure that you will sell at least 60 or 70 million of them just because of ease of use.

    I’ve called the phone company to complain many times, but they say they can’t do anything because the phone numbers are being spoofed (yet they know where the calls are coming from).

    Both the US and Canada need to make laws that stop numbers from being spoofed and that stop companies from calling across the boarder and to respect each others do not call list.

    I have no problem with a private residence having their name and number blocked, though when they call somewhere it should say “private residence blocked number”. No company should be allowed to block their name and number.

    Sorry for the rant, but these things drive me nuts. There are lots of ways to stop them, but the phone companies and law makers seem unwilling to do so.

  2. Miroslav Glavic says:

    how to report?
    So basically if I had a previous relationship then they can call me……like my newspaper subscription or the political party I support…that I can understand.
    But I had the other day this miserable troll call me and say I won a trip to the Bahamas..bla bla bla and then I have to pay an adminstration fee. This is just one sample.

    I registered on the crtc/gov.’s do noto call list and your ioptout (which has something wrong with it’s certificate according to firefox 3.0.5). I still get the call.

    How do I get their number and name of the company to report them?

  3. No problems here…
    I’ve not received a telemarketer call since I told RBC to put me on their internal DNC (after receiving the same call 3 times in 4 days). Maybe it’s because I’m not home during standard hours and my answering machine doesn’t say “hello”, “hi”, or any one of the trigger words to start the automated system?

  4. Timothy Friesen says:

    What can I if a company I have “iOptOut”ed from calls me?
    I have Shaw for phone and Internet at home but have iOptOuted of receiving calls from them. Is there anything I can do to show them that they shouldn’t have called me?

  5. Ring a Bell
    I love Bell. I have switched from Bell to Videotron 4 years ago. I have never had a Bell Canada account at my name. Yet, last week, Bell called me to say they miss me and they had new unbeatable prices if I came back with them. I don’t know how they found me(i changed phone numbers 3 times in the last 4 years), they probably call every Videotron phone subscribers to ask them to come back. Bell is on my iOptOut list, didn’t seem to bother them.

  6. useless
    My favourite part is when you request the contact information needed to file a do not call list complaint and they refuse to give it to you or simply hang up on you.

    Also, the p2pnet bell image is great.

  7. interesting
    very interesting

  8. useless
    still getting spam calls here. But they now “pretend” to be survey, because of the survey loophole.
    Because they don’t identify who they are, the “bad guys” are practically impossible to track down and stop.
    Perhaps the solution is to make the owner of the phone network responsible for it’s customer’s abuse of the network? At least we know where Bell lives…

  9. Devil's Advocate says:

    Personally, I don’t think we’re going to have an easy time fixing any of this, UNTIL WE FIX BELL.

    How can we expect this thing to work at all, if the very operator of the DNCL is 1)violating its rules, 2) supplying and operating a knowlingly faulty system for the CRTC, and 3) hiding behind the CRTC when that system comes into question.

    About #3:
    If you’ve seen the Global News Hour report, you may have noticed Bell wasn’t even mentioned. Whenever they spoke of “who was running it”, only the CRTC was talked about.

    Something about that sets off a red flag with me.

  10. RBC here al;so
    @Mark
    I see you had RBC abuse you as well. lad to know I’m not alone.

    They called here EVERY SINGLE DAY for 3 weeks straight 3 TIMES A DAY.

    My wife uses them (grrrr)

    They kept asking for her and I kept telling them call after 5, the first week. The 2nd and 3rd week I told them to stop calling period, but noooo. But no after 14 days they couldn’t get it. Finally they called once after 5 (like I asked them to originally), got her on the phone and did their selling crap which she declined.

    When she was done I asked to speak to them and told them the amount of times they called and refusing to listen amounted to harassment and I was going to do something about it (though I didn’t know what to do). Finally she says, oh well we can stop calling.

    Never heard from RBC again since around Nov.

    Grrrrrrr

    BTW: I never used iOptOut, nor have I used the CRTC DNCL. RBC was the only bugger. I get maybe 1 telemarketing call a month. I can live with that.

    No I won’t ever use ioptout (No offence Mr. Geist), or the CRTC DNCL. Everyone (and family) I know who signed up for these things get MEGA-calls.

    No thanks and I’m glad I never used them.

    When the CRTC decides to get serious about the matter, mabya I would use iOptOut. But till then its all smoke and mirrors (again no offence Mr. Geist, not your fault) and the CRTC is giving the list to a notorious spam house like Bell.

    BTW: the same time that P2Pnet post went up, the CRTC released this http://www.p2pnet.net/story/18188 saying the DNCL is success.

    I want to know which clown skool these CRTC people went to?

    Maybe people need an IoptOut form to send direct to the CRTC when things like that Bell stuff happens.

    I would like to see some companies/charities/banks/whoever face the music, and see if the CRTC’s bite is as big as its bark.

    end rant. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Communication OSB, Montreal, 514-333-0358 called tonight. I do not see them listed anywhere. They insist they are allowed to call. I was not going to let them tell me why they were calling. That is not why I pay for my phone line.

    They INSIST that do not and will not add me to an internal do-not-call list.

  12. favorite way to deal with them
    I used to have a corded phone, and when they called, I’d simply say, can you hold on a moment, then put the phone down and walk away. They usually hang up within a couple minutes and I find it kind of fun to waste their time and money ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. What I would like to know….
    …. is did they just walk into the bastion of security of un-updated Windows IIS servers the government uses and steal the info (you don’t crack/hack these, you walk in the front door) to call everyone, or did our government just sell us out for a profit?

    Seriously, I hadn’t had calls for years until I signed up for this “opt-out” garbage. Now I can’t get rid of them.

  14. You shouldn’t have to protect youself
    I think the no call list is an insult. My personal belief is that any form of harassment is unacceptable. List or no list.

  15. How about three strikes?
    The “solicitor” gets a warning and on number three they get their phone service cut off.

    OK. I know it won’t work, but at least its in line with current policy ideas.

    (Sorry about double posting – I couldn’t help it)

  16. Fake Polls
    Some callers are now bypassing the intent of the law by masquerading sales calls as polls. They start the call with a poll, then launch their sales pitch. It’s may be within the letter of the law, but it’s just as annoying as the sales calls. Worse yet, if you’re the sort that is willing to talk to pollsters, you waste even more time than you did previously just ending the call right at the start.

    I imagine it also undercuts the legitimate pollsters, who did have a good – though not in my opinion sufficient – case that they should be exempted.

  17. listen up
    You are never EVER going to get anything done till you start charging them for your lost time and do ongoing protests at their main offices.
    WAKE UP

    note: How come this thing won’t let me use arrow keys and pgup / pgdwn?

  18. I wish!
    Ole Juul said: “How about three strikes?
    The “solicitor” gets a warning and on number three they get their phone service cut off.”

    Unfortunately, telemarketers buy blocks of telephone numbers in the hundreds or thousands, to defeat call blockers.

  19. Cellphones!
    I never bothered much with unkown calls to the house. I just wouldn’t answer or realise who they were and pick up and hang right back up BUT I made the mistake of registering the home phone and all our cell phones on the government site and ioptout and now I get crap to my cell phone. Other than family, no-one knew my cell number until I “registered” to opt out. Now alot of times I turn my phone on, have a voicemail and it’s “ahoy matee! You’ve won a cruise or whatever” Damn annoying and if I was a pay as you go person I would be really ticked by this, fortunately, it’s just a nuisnace for now.

  20. “I used to have a corded phone, and when they called, I’d simply say, can you hold on a moment, then put the phone down and walk away. They usually hang up within a couple minutes and I find it kind of fun to waste their time and money :)”

    You realise of course that you just gave this telephone worker a free two-minute paid rest break? During which they were probably quite happy to be able to read a whole uninterrupted article in the magazine/newspaper on their desk. Heck, they probably realised what you were doing within 30 seconds but played along as long as they possibly justify to any supervisor that might be monitoring them. You just became their ally.

    I have worked in the telephone survey/market research industry (and briefly in the telemarketing world and it was very similar but too sharklike for me). The kinds of things people think are ‘revenge’ are endlessly amusing to me. That’s part of what makes the job interesting; it’s rather a good insight into human psychology.

    Bottom line: you cannot take revenge on the person who is talking to you on the phone. He or she has heard all the insults; has been called every name in the book or off the books; has been the butt of all the tricks; has heard the ‘Seinfeld’ trick hundreds of times; and doesn’t care about any of it. You have no power to affect them negatively. They are just making a living and don’t give a crap what you say or don’t say. They don’t even really care about whether you agree to what they are supposed to get you to agree to, or not. You could possibly get the company they work for in trouble if they are breaking the law — but the person actually talking to you on the phone is actually invulnerable to you; as long as they keep their cool. If they don’t you could get them fired (remember these phone conversations are usually recorded so supervisors can check the truth of complaints from the public as to how they were treated).

  21. Three strikes …
    Gregg said: “Unfortunately, telemarketers buy blocks of telephone numbers in the hundreds or thousands, to defeat call blockers.”
    Perfect! Three strikes and they lose them all. Pretty soon the providers won’t want to sell to telemarketers because they will become a liability, just like renting to grow ops is a liability for landlords.

  22. Re: DBL
    Why would anyone want to get back at the poor employee on the other end of the phone? The point is to waste the *company’s* money and reduce the effectiveness of their annoying calls to the point that they’re not profitable, in the hope that maybe they’ll stop. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that you should abuse the people that do this for a living. I’ll give them a 2 minute break. They deserve it after dealing with the jerk that doesn’t understand who they have a problem with.

  23. Caller ID and Voice Mail
    I don’t like telemarketers anymore than anyone else, so at home we have a rule… If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message. Telemarketers never leave messages!

    Doesn’t get simpler than that. Eventually they stop calling.

  24. The calls are annoying but I’ve become quicker at recognizing them – it’s usually the long pause before anyone on the other end answers. I just hang up, or I’m completely impolite and hang up as soon as I realize who they are or I let the answering machine deal with it. One thing’s for sure, I haven’t bothered to register my phone number – something called a lack of confidence in any government agency’s ability or desire to actually deal with the issue. Sorry if I sound cynical.

  25. I think the answer is to start launching lawsuits, or class actions. It’s the only thing that will work to stop this B.S. I get a call a day at least and they are often recorded messages that are recorded on my answering machine. I knew this list was a joke from the start. CRTC is another joke. CRTC is usless and should be dissolved.

  26. Captain Calls Continue!
    I just received yet another “Captain Calling” call. I just pressed 1 for all the questions, then I got put through to an actual person and asked as many identifying questions I could about the company, but I just get the run around. She said that they get forwarded the calls from the machine and that she didn’t know how the numbers were dialed, didn’t have a phone number I could call to confirm, or even the travel agency that would be contacting me once I gave my name and postal code. The only answer she did give me was that she worked for Answer Solutions. I ran out of questions and asked to be taken off any and all calling lists. She then forwarded me to an automated service – they seem to be very fond of them – which read off my number and then said I was taken off their list. We’ll see how that works.

  27. Regarding my earlier post, I have just received a letter from Bell apologizing for calling me a few weeks ago, since they just realized that my number was on the Do-not-call-list. Human error they said. I think I will frame this letter.

  28. Devil's Advocate says:

    @Thomas:

    Don’t just frame it…
    Use it as DOCUMENTED PROOF (confession by the guilty party) to have the charges laid for violating the DNCL. And, call on others who may have received a similar letter to come forward and join in.

    NOt only should it absolutely UNACCEPTABLE for the very operator of the DNCL to break the rules in the first place, but to “confess” to such a “mistake” should be a statement in itself as to the inappropriateness of appointing them to run the DNCL.

  29. Jan 23, 2008, Soctiabank presidents office has informed me scotiabank will not be respecting ioptout.ca or any other 3rd party site, in response to my complaint over their telemarketing call to me in Dec.

    They don’t believe there is anything wrong with the call since I didn’t contact them directly myself. They apparently spent 2 weeks researching my complaint, and had a rep call from the president’s office who had no knowledge of the CRTC letter indicating ioptout requests are valid.

    On another note, twice in the past (one long before DNC/ioptout) I have suggested companies who called after being told not to should compensate me, and both have. I would encourage everyone who’s rights are violated to make complaints AND try and get something out of them. It won’t work for “the captain” types, but probably will for many legit business.

    Scotibank has declined to make a nomainal goodwill gesture, so complaints will continue.

    It appears making it too expensive to continue telemarketing is the only thing that will work.

  30. locomotive engineer says:

    here is a thought people, since i signed up for the do not call list it has been open season on my phone.
    hope all you people riding the rails feel safer knowing that not only did i not get a decent sleep and am more fatigued, but i also have telemarketers distracting me, just like when 25 people died in L.A.
    on September 12, 2008 , in Chatsworth, California

  31. Jamie – I’ll think of you when the news announces Scotiabank racks up hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not in the millions) in fines. Right on dude!

  32. I’m on the DNCL, but I have been getting calls from a company called Shopco. When I told the first caller that I was on the DNCL, she said that the list has been sold, as if that somehow explained her call… then she got off the phone in a hurry after promising to remove me from their list. I called their customer service number (which I found online, since the number displayed was bogus – another violation of the law) and explained to an exasperated guy there that the list is sold routinely – that’s how it is supposed to work. So everyone knows who’s on it and they aren’t supposed to call those numbers. He said he’d look into it. Then I got another call from them three days later.

    I also routinely get calls from “cardholder services” which, like “the Captain” begin with a recording, and the calls come from a spoofed number – illegal in three ways. When you press 1 to be removed from their list sometimes a rude person insults you, sometimes a nice person consoles you, and sometimes they just hang up on you. No matter, your number is never removed from the list. One time, last year, I reached a “supervisor” who told me that the company has four calling centres, so even if your number is removed once, the other three centres may still call. Hadn’t heard from them in about six months but I got two calls this week.

    Third, I’m getting automated calls on my cellphone (also listed) telling me my car warranty’s about to expire. This is apparently a scam where they sell you a US warranty that isn’t even applicable in Canada.

    I know people say, “don’t recognize the number? don’t answer.” but that doesn’t really work for me since I work freelance and I routinely get legitimate calls from numbers I don’t recognize.

  33. Calls from U.S. company
    I get calls every day from a U.S. Financial company. The first time I answered, they ask for Joanne and I told them they had the wrong number. They have called almost every day since early January and they never leave a message on the answering machine. Someone I know got a call from these people and they gave them a “file number” and phone number to call. When he called, they could not find the “file number” but wanted his name, address, etc. before they would answer any questions. He hung up right away. These people are just looking for your personal information. The number was: 866-287-2543

  34. Time to stop being nice about this…
    Perhaps the time has come to be a little more aggressive, and it may be that the solution is the creation of another web page. If you are registered on the DNCL and still receive calls, if you receive calls from telemarketers in the U.S. or offshore, if you receive automated dialling messages, simply put up with the nonsense that is necessary to get the information on the company they are calling for, and post that company’s name (and products/services) on a National Consumer Boycott List. If they are outside the country, take a little time to find out whether they have a Canadian operation, and list that for boycott as well. If they are using Skype, talk to Skype, and if they are unwilling to do anything about the problem, encourage and promote a nationwide Canadian boycott of Skype, as well. If telemarketers and service providers have no more respect for our laws than that, then logically, since they are money-driven, the only way to make them see our point is to cost them millions of dollars in lost business from potential clients who are unimpressed with their tactics. And if they decide to file an action against the web page, simply move it offshore and continue to run it. With the Internet, physical location is largely meaningless, and two can play at that game. Eventually, this strategy will work…the people in question are not stupid…merely greedy.

  35. back to Basics says:

    Collection call and the DNC list
    I have an item in collections from 6 years ago and I was getting calls on my main home number only, I added my “identa ring” numbers and fax number to the DNC list and NOW they call all my numbers????? including the fax number?!?!

    That tells me that they are using the list for other business calls and they are getting the list because they also have a marketing call centre they own along with the collection agency….How corrupt is that!!

  36. x CALL CENTER agent says:

    lol
    ok here goes, all you lads, ladies, if you are on the DNC list, ..except for sales, basically you have waisted your money. Any one who is not actually selling any thing on the phone, is EXEMPTED from it. Any one who is calling from out side of canada..i.e the u.s ….india ect. are all exempted from it as they don’t have to adhear to canadian bi-law as is the same for the states and calling from canada.
    If you want to get out of the surveys on the phone, don’t hang up, you’ll only get a call back with in 4 hours quarenteed, less the agent liked you and sets a call back for the next day lol. what you need to do is listen to their intro, varify you are the person they are looking for, say no thanks…and you need to let them rebut you 2x, then say take me off ALL of your lists. at that point your supposed to be taken off. untill you do that, you could tell them your house is on fire, and you’d still get a call back any way. harsh….but I just gave you a way out…least for surveys. If i was at work and told ppl on the phone how to get out of phone calls, i’d be fired lol. As of for the rest of you all, your just gaining more calls by putting your self on it as far as i’ve seen.

  37. x CALL CENTER agent says:

    p.s
    It’s not the agents fault at all btw, threatning to sue them will get you no where, AND most likely a call back will be set for another day when they arn’t working…it’s the supervisor, or the manager you want to get at. The agent is just doing what they were hired to do. Also, for all of you out there that rant at the agents to get a better job, alot of people in the call center agency have disabilities, like wheel chairs and stuff, so it’s hard for them to gain a living else where. Just keep that in mind the next time you feal like yelling. This sounds like I’m taking the call centers side but I’m totally not. It is annoying to have it happen, it’s just that I have been on both sides of the coin and have patience, and I know how to get out off calls and off lists.

  38. bell violates its own rules
    Bell has a hand in running the DNCL. Bell also makes these unwanted calls. I left Bell because of this. They have been harrassing me ever since. I tell them I’m not going back to them and even threatened legal action if the persist. Those people are not human. Bell needs to fined as well. I posted on several sites citing Bell as one of the guilty parties. Bell — you are not above the law!!

  39. Do not call list is a joke that is not funny
    About 3 times per week we get duct cleaning calls. We have cops and firemen (at least they say they are) calling and thanking us for the donation and can they have MORE money. Why would I give money to guys that make more than me and are public servants?? Banks, credit card companies, free cruises….we get them all.

    Canadian politicians are pusys. Once they get elected they won’t help you at all. They even smoke crack in a drunken stupor and still get to keep their high paying jobs. This country needs to be taken over by the great USA. They don’t take this kind of crapola