Complaints Lead to $170,000 Fine

CRTC Wireless CodeHere at Schooley Mitchell complaints are nothing new. We hear them about poor telecom services and vendors all the time! One of the most annoying things that continues to plague families is receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls. They always seem to come at the most inopportune time, like when you are sitting down to dinner or have your hands full.

In Canada, two home improvement companies are facing hefty fines for doing just that – calling residents who had registered their phone numbers on the national Do Not Call List (DNCL). The rules state that once someone signs up on the list, all unsolicited communications must cease, except for calls from a few groups including charities, political parties, and businesses you’ve worked with within the last 18 months. However, Canadian Choice Home Improvements Inc. and Le Groupe Hydro Hvac Inc. ignored all of that, resulting in $170,000 in fines.

According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), neither company registered or subscribed to the DNCL. Both called residential numbers on the list, and Le Groupe Hydro Hvac also called existing customers who had registered on its own internal do not call list.

Canadian Choice Improvements faced the heftiest fine, paying $140,000. The company has now decided to cease all telemarketing efforts in the future. Le Groupe Hydro’s portion was $30,000 and it has agreed to institute a compliance program moving forward to ensure history does not repeat itself.

Hundreds of complaints

Since the DNCL launched in 2008, nearly 13 million phone numbers have been added, with over $6.5 million in fines collected in violations to date. It doesn’t matter if the company itself or a third-party firm is making the calls on its behalf, or if the calls originate in Canada.

“Canadians play an important role in our investigations of unwanted telemarketing calls by providing clear and complete information when filing a complaint. In this case, their information assisted us in bringing these two companies to conform to the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules,” said Manon Bombardier, CRTC chief compliance and enforcement officer, in a press release. “Today’s announcement is another reminder to all telemarketers that compliance with the rules is not optional.”

The CRTC will continue to enhance its monitoring program and encourages consumers to report any nuisance calls they may receive.