Canada’s Do Not Call List needs to be fixed

Posted in Consumer by cimmetry on January 25, 2009

I am normally a calm person, but one of the things that rattles my temper is when I receive an unsolicited call from a telemarketer.

Before the advent of the Canadian Do Not Call List, such calls were a weekly nuisance. So I was glad when the DNCL was launched. I registered my numbers the day it opened.

For a time it seemed to be working. Marketing calls became rare, and I diligently filed complaints about transgressors. I never did receive the follow-up calls that I requested, but I expected that my complaints were being handled.

However, since he start of 2009, I have noticed a significant increase in unsolicited calls at my home number. Most of these calls originate from abroad and are made on behalf of the home services industry (duct cleaning anyone?).

It seems that in registering for the DNCL, I have added myself to the ultimate telemarketing list. Recent reports in the media corroborate this — Canada’s DNCL is being abused.

The DNCL is the responsibility of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) and Industry Canada. That the CRTC has expressed surprise that such abuses could occur is not comforting. It shows that they did not consider foreseeable risks associated with the list in their planning.

A do-not-call-list is not rocket science; it is upsetting that the government can’t get this right. Nor am I encouraged by the reassurances of action on the part of Tony Clement, Minister for Industry. Wasn’t he the same guy who, as Minister for Health during the listeriosis crisis, stayed out of the country on vacation?

The potential for abuse of a list of personal phone and fax numbers is clear, and evidence shows that this is exactly what is taking place. The Government of Canada and the CRTC have responsibility to fix the system and guard Canadians’ privacy.

If Stephen Harper’s Conservative government cannot manage a simple do-not-call-list, how can they be trusted to fix the economy?