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Telemarketing: Who am I allowed to call?

Note: This information should not be interpreted as legal advice. Tenato recommends consulting your own legal counsel to ensure compliance with Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation.

Photo by Alex Andrews from Pexels

Telemarketing may not sound sexy, but there is a time and a place for specific marketing tactics, and telemarketing can be extremely successful for the right product or service. If you choose to engage in telemarketing as part of your marketing strategy, it’s important to be aware of your responsibilities in regards to Canada’s Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, which include the National Do Not Call List (DNCL).

We recently attended the Calgary Marketing Association luncheon to hear Christina Beck, Compliance and Enforcement Officer for the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission), talk about the rules around the DNCL.

Telemarketing means your business uses telecommunications technologies to make unsolicited calls to consumers for the purpose of selling or promoting a product or service, for oneself or for another party. Calls that are not considered telemarketing calls include:

  • product recall calls;
  • appointment reminder calls;
  • calls related to payment or bill collections;
  • public service announcements; or
  • calls for the sole purposes of market research, surveys or public opinion polls.

The Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules include the Telemarketing Rules, the Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device (ADAD) Rules and the National DNCL Rules. The rules apply to all Canadian consumers, regardless of where the call originates. If you are a third-party making calls for a client, you must ensure your company is subscribed to the National DNCL and keep those records for a period of three years.

Firstly, you need to determine if your calls are exempt:

REGISTRATION REQUIREDEXEMPT
If you are calling Canadian phone numbers to sell, promote, get donations, or ask for volunteers. • B2B calls;
• Canadian registered charities;
• Political parties, riding associations and candidates;
• Persons or entities collecting information for a survey; and
• Newspapers of general circulation for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions.
If you are a third-party calling Canadian phone numbers on behalf of another organization to sell, promote, get donations, or ask for volunteers.Telemarketers are free to call a consumer who:
• Has purchased, leased, or rented a product or service from the telemarketer in the last eighteen (18) months;
• Has a written contract with a telemarketer that is still in effect or has expired within the last eighteen (18) months; or
• Has made an inquiry or has submitted an application to a telemarketer about a product or service within the last six (6) months.
Telemarketers can call a consumer that has provided expressed consent, including:
• The consumer’s permission to be called on a written form, electronic form, or an online form; or
• An audio recording of the consumer’s verbal permission, or a record of it verified by an independent third party.

Secondly, you need to register with the National DNCL Operator (free of charge) and subscribe to the DNCL list. A ‘query subscription’ lets you check up to 100 numbers while a ‘download subscription’ permits the download of a file containing all registered DNCL numbers that can be compared to any calling list. The subscription costs vary. Lastly, you need to keep meticulous records of your subscriptions or the subscriptions of companies whom you represent.

Although some may see these tools as restrictive, these lists filter out those who do not want to receive unsolicited calls. In the end, for the telemarketer, it helps ensure that the households you do contact are more likely to be receptive.

For more information there are great resources from the CRTC:

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Jenelle Peterson
About the Author - Jenelle Peterson
What do Oil and Gas, IT, Duct Tape and Dental Products have in common? Seemingly not much, but they've taught Jenelle that great marketing leads to measurable results - regardless of the industry or product. She brings an extensive background in developing strategic plans and executing marketing campaigns on both client and agency sides - from start-ups to multinational organizations.  Jenelle loves the outdoors, making bad art, and all things Sci-Fi. As if that weren't enough, she is also a board member for the Calgary Marketing Association and teaches part-time in digital marketing.