National Do Not Call List – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Bell Do Not Call

If you are looking to register your phone number for the Canadian National Do Not Call List please click here: https://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/insnum-regnum-eng

Bell Canada was awarded the 5 year contract from the CRTC in December 2007. It is official; The National Do Not Call list will be in effect in Canada by September 2008 at the latest.

I have been involved in sales in one fashion or another for almost two decades in Canada, and I have mixed feelings (Good, Bad & Ugly) about the CRTC’s National Do Not Call List. On one hand the reduction of telemarketing calls for useless products and services that most people don’t want to hear about does sound appealing, if you choose to add yourself to the list. On the other hand, there are some bad effects and seriously ugly flaws with the program that people just don’t realize how draconian the CRTC has made the rules surrounding this list, and it will have a negative impact on some very important industries in Canada.

Let first quickly recap what the National Do Not Call list actually is and isn’t. The National Call list is a choice.  Consumers with a phone in Canada can choose for free to add their phone number to a list of people who do not want to be called by telemarketers trying to sell their products and services (anyone soliciting with a phone is defined as a telemarketer…period). Does it guarantee you won’t get calls? NO, but for the first time in Canada you will be able to complain to BELL and actually have recourse in the event someone calls you when they shouldn’t. The company or person who breaks the rules can face heavy fines, to the tune of $15,000 per offence. In theory, the fear of punishment should make the National Do Not Call List work like a charm.

There are certain organizations that are exempt. Even if you are on the list the continuous calls from charities and surveys will not cease. So the do not call list isn’t a magical black box service that will stop your phone ringing. Also, any company that has an existing business relationship with you is permitted to continue to call you regarding the products and services of that company, this has primarily exempted your bank or insurance company from the list, but also will keep you on the list of many companies with whom you do business.

THE GOOD – it will reduce unwanted calls.

THE BAD – if you’re in sales life just changed.

THE UGLY – word of mouth referral based businesses are being forced to adapt and pay money to Bell to comply, regardless of whether your business is a one person shop or hundreds of people.

The term referral in Canada may no longer be safe for many businesses. Let’s say I am talking with Mike my life insurance agent, and I think it would be a good idea for him to give my friend Sam a call as they just had a baby, and I know he doesn’t have an agent. According to the CRTC, if Mike calls Sam, and Sam is on the Do Not Call List, he is in contradiction of the rules and his company could be fined up to $15,000. Now, Sam may not complain and it may go unnoticed even if Mike did call, but that’s not the point. Mike is taking a risk, and is at the mercy for paying for cross referencing Bell’s No Not Call List, adding an extra layer of administration and cost to his business. Not to mention who knows what Bell will be charging for these lists?

There are many industries in Canada that have been built on word of mouth, and the CRTC has now made it even harder for one person to recommend a service to another. When the Do Not Call list officially launches later this year, many businesses are going to have to rethink their telemarketing strategy.

The one immediate and safe solution is for businesses and direct sales forces to focus on introductions, instead of referrals. Asking for an introduction lunch or coffee with a ‘referral’ can be very effective. Of course, referrals are still the life blood of many businesses, and that’s why it will become very important to become familiar with the rules and ensure you or your company follows them.

Looking for more detailed information you can get it from the horse’s mouth here: Bell.ca/DoNotCall

Want to read the 500+ page CRTC Ruling: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Decisions/2007/dt2007-48.htm

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