DNC – Using the Do-Not-Call List for Sales Phone Calls

Is your home phone number on the Do Not Call List? I don’t know if every country has set this up. But, here in Canada, this is what it looks like when you verify that your number is still coming up as DNC (do not call).

I noticed that the calls pretty much stopped the first several months. Then they began to trickle back. Until now there is a stream of them again. Not as many as before, but enough that I logged in today to check that my phone number was still on the list. I know it does expire after some time. But, mine isn’t expired, not by a few years.

FYI – Here are the rules for Canadian DNC Listed Numbers:

To file a complaint you will need:

  • Your phone number (where the call was received)
  • The name or phone number of the telemarketer
  • The date you received the call

You can complain about any call you received that violated an Unsolicited Telecommunications Rule (e.g. National DNCL Rules, Telemarketing Rules, or Automated Dialing-Announcing Device Rules).

If your complaint is about receiving a telemarketing call after you have been registered on the National DNCL for at least 31 days, note that the following calls are still allowed under the National DNCL rules:

  • Canadian registered charities;
  • A telemarketer with whom you are considered to have an existing business relationship. An existing business relationship occurs when you:
    • Purchase, lease, or rent a product or service in the last eighteen (18) months from the telemarketer;
    • Have a written contract with the telemarketer for a service that is still in effect or expired within the last eighteen (18) months; and/or
    • Ask a telemarketer about a product or service within the last six (6) months.
  • Political parties, candidates (including those in federal, provincial and municipal elections), and associations of members of a political party;
  • Persons collecting information for a market research or public opinion polls;
  • Newspapers of general circulation for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions;
  • Persons or entities to whom you have provided express consent to be called; or
  • Business-to-business calls.

Read more about who can still call you.

Please note that the Telemarketing Rules and the Automated Dialing-Announcing Device Rules apply to telemarketing calls made to residential and business numbers.

If the call is about debt or bill collection, you should contact your provincial consumer affairs department or visit the Canadian Consumer Information Gateway.

If you think the call may be part of a fraud scheme, contact law enforcement authorities or The Canadian Anti Fraud Center (1-888-495-8501).

Read more about how the CRTC handles complaints about telemarketing calls.

I don’t have call display to see the phone number calling me. Even when we did have call display (years ago) most numbers were blocked/ not displayed. So, if you want to report a telemarketing call you can’t really do so without getting that information during the call. Telemarketers don’t give out their number. Instead, if you strongly insist, they will give a standard phone number for the company they are working for. They do not give out their own number or address or any other real information. Of course, you can ask for the name of the person you are talking to, for all the good that will do you.

This makes the DNC list a bit worthless. It may legally block them but anyone who ignores it really isn’t going to suffer much since they can’t be reported anyway. Kind of aggravating.

I would say it is still worth registering your phone number on the DNC list. It does help, for awhile at least. I’m going to try extending the registration expiry date and see if that renews or refreshes our listing and weeds out some of the sales calls again.

At least it’s still free and it feels like there is something we can do rather than being powerless and give up on keeping phone service at all.

Here are the rule for telemarketers. If someone breaks these rules you have an extra reason to report them.

Telemarketing Rules

Telemarketing Rules that apply to both voice and fax telemarketing calls:

  • Calling hours are restricted to weekdays (Monday to Friday) between 9:00 am and 9:30 pm and weekends (Saturday and Sunday) between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm. Restrictions hours refer to the time zone of the customer receiving the telephone calls.
  • For any telephone numbers provided to a consumer:
    • the telephone call shall be answered either by a live operator or a voicemail system to take messages from the consumer. The voicemail must inform consumers that their call will be returned within three (3) business days.
    • the telemarketer or the client of the telemarketer must return the consumer’s call within three (3) business days.
  • Telemarketers must display the originating calling number or an alternate number where the call originator can be reached (except where the number display is unavailable for technical reasons).
  • Sequential dialing is prohibited.
  • Random dialing and calls to non-published numbers are permitted, except to numbers that are registered on the National DNCL, are emergency lines, and are associated with healthcare facilities.
  • Internal do not call lists are to be maintained by the telemarketer on its own behalf or on behalf of a client of a telemarketer and remain active for three (3) years effective within thirty-one (31) days from the date of the consumer’s do not call request.
  • A telemarketer using a predictive dialing device to initiate a call shall not exceed, in any calendar month, a five (5) percent abandonment rate. The telemarketer and/or its client shall maintain records of actual abandonment rates for a period of three (3) years from the date each monthly record is created.

Telemarketing Rules that apply only to voice telemarketing calls:

  • A telemarketer making a telemarketing call must process a do not call request from a consumer at the time of the call. The consumer shall not be asked to call elsewhere to make their request.
  • At the beginning of a call a telemarketer must:
    • identify the name or fictitious name of the individual placing the call;
    • identify the name of the telemarketer whether calling on its own behalf or on behalf of a client of the telemarketer;
    • provide the purpose of the call (if the call is exempt from the National DNCL Rules).
  • Upon request, a telemarketer must:
    • provide a local or toll-free number allowing the customer access to speak to an employee or other representative of the telemarketer and where applicable, its client;
    • provide the name and address of an employee or other representative of the telemarketer and where applicable, its client, to whom the consumer can write.

Telemarketing Rules that apply only to fax telemarketing calls:

  • The following information must be provided on top of the first page of the fax in font size 12 or larger:
    • the name of the telemarketer, whether it is sending the fax on its own behalf or on behalf of a client of the telemarketer.
    • the name of the telemarketer’s client where applicable.
    • the originating date and time of the fax.
    • a local or toll-free voice and fax number allowing the customer access to an employee or other representative of the telemarketer, and where applicable, the client of the telemarketer, for the purpose of asking questions or making a do not call request.
    • the name and address of an employee or other representative of the telemarketer, or client where applicable, to whom the consumer can write.

Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device (ADAD) Rules

Automatic Dialing-Announcing Devices (ADADs) are equipment that store and dial telephone numbers automatically. They may be used alone or with other devices to deliver a pre-recorded or synthesized voice message to the telephone number called.

ADADs may not be used for telemarketing unless the consumer has given express consent to accept an ADAD telemarketing call. This includes telemarketing via an ADAD that is initiated by or on behalf of a Canadian registered charity, for the purpose of requesting a consumer to hold until a telemarketer is available, for activities such as radio station promotions, or for referring consumers to 900 or 976 service numbers.

ADADs are permitted for calls when there is no attempt to sell, such as calls made for public service reasons, including calls made for emergency and administration purposes by police and fire departments, schools, hospitals, or for calls to schedule appointments.

A person using an ADAD to make permitted calls shall comply with the following conditions:

  • Calling hours are restricted to weekdays (Monday to Friday) from 9:00 am to 9:30 pm and 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) except where provincial laws apply to the specific type of call. The hours refer to those of the person receiving the call. These hours do not apply to emergency situation announcements.
  • The ADAD call shall begin with a clear message identifying the person on whose behalf the call is made. This identification message shall include a mailing address and a local or toll-free telecommunications number at which a representative of the originator of the message can be reached. In the event that the actual message relayed exceeds sixty (60) seconds, the identification message shall be repeated at the end of the telecommunication.
  • ADAD calls shall display the originating telecommunications number or an alternate telecommunications number where the call originator can be reached (except where the number display is unavailable for technical reasons).
  • Sequential dialing is prohibited.
  • Random dialing can be used to non-published telecommunications numbers, except to emergency lines and healthcare facilities.
  • Persons initiating ADAD calls shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that their equipment disconnects within ten (10) seconds of the person receiving the call hanging up.

One of the things I most hate about sales calls are the dead air calls. You drop everything, pick up the phone and… no one is there. I find I’m getting more calls where the phone is disconnected after a long pause with dead air. That really pisses me off. Here is a bit about dead air from the DNC site:

You may receive a telephone call where no one is on the other end: this is often referred to as a “dead air” call. These calls are often the result of something called “predictive dialing.” Some telemarketers use predictive dialers to place telephone calls or send faxes. A “dead air” or abandoned call will occur if a telemarketing representative is not available when the call is answered by the consumer. Generally, companies allow sufficient time between calls for a representative to be available; however, if the telemarketing representative is on another line longer than expected, the result is “dead air.” Anabandoned call is a call that is not answered by a telemarketing representative within two (2) seconds.

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