It’s possible that home-based businesses will receive more telemarketing calls as a result of a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision made today, according to a telecommunications consultant.
In a decision made today involving Eatons Commercial & Residential Services Ltd. violating the unsolicited telecommunications rules, the CRTC ruled a home phone number can’t be placed on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) if it is associated with a business. That means it can be openly targeted by telemarketer regardless of if the phone line owner has placed his or her number on the DNCL.
The decision saw Eatons fined $8,000 for four violations involving calling numbers on the DNCL in telemarketing for gas appliance inspections, maintenance, and duct cleaning. But the commission found Eatons not in violation of four other cases of making calls to numbers registered on the DNCL list. Those numbers were associated with a business, it was ruled, and therefore the DNCL doesn’t apply.
Mark Goldberg, who runs an independent telecommunications consultancy and is the organizer of the Canadian Telecom Summit, questioned whether this opens up a loophole for telemarketers in a phone call with ITBusiness.ca.
“I’m a perfect example, I work from home. I pay Bell residential rates for my phone line, it’s a home phone number. But if you go to my Web site, you’ll see this phone number listed to contact me,” he says. “Is it a home phone number or a business number?”
The four witnesses deemed to have business phone lines by the CRTC said that their phone numbers were for home use. But an Internet search indicated the numbers were associated with the business, the decision says.
At a time when more Canadians are choosing to either telecommute from home or run side-businesses from their home office, Goldberg is concerned a new avenue for unwanted telemarketing calls is being opened. Particularly concerning is that in this case, Eatons was selling consumer services – not business services.
“The company wasn’t calling the phone numbers to sell business services, they were selling duct cleaning, furnace maintenance,” he says. “I would like to think that the rules can distinguish between those types of calls.”
Given the ruling, a telemarketer could take the DNCL and run a Google search one each phone number, he says. If it’s found to be associated with a business, then it’s open season for placing calls.