On March 23, 2012, the CRTC announced that it had imposed a $24,000 administrative monetary penalty against Quebec telemarketing company Les Aliments S.R.C. Inc. for calling consumers registered on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) and failure to pay registration fees to the National DNCL operator.
Under the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, telemarketers are prohibited from calling consumers registered on the DNCL (unless express consent has been obtained). The Rules also require telemarketers to be registered on the National DNCL and pay registration fees to the National DNCL operator.
Les Aliments took the position that the Rules had not been violated regarding calls to one complainant because it had an existing business relationship (the Rules do not apply to telemarketing where there is an existing business relationship, as defined) and should be acquitted of other violations because it acted in good faith and exercised due diligence (a due diligence defence exists under the Telecommunications Act).
With respect to an existing business relationship, the CRTC found that Les Aliments did indeed have an existing business relationship with one complainant, having entered a contract for the supply of food products less than 18 months before the call.
The Commission rejected Les Aliments’ due diligence defence, however, in relation to the other violations. In coming to this conclusion, it considered factors including whether the company had obtained express consent and whether new employees had received training (finding that there was no evidence of consent given by the complainants or of any employee training program). The Commission also rejected the company’s argument that it had acted in good faith, on the basis that no good faith defence exists under the Act or Rules.
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