Wednesday 1 August 2012

Does being on the No Call List really stop the telemarketers from calling you?

Since August 4th, 2011, I have been reporting to the people at the National Do Not Call List (NDNCL) and complaining about telemarketers who are still phoning me. I am on that list and they are not supposed to call me and yet, they are still calling me on my home phone.                                                                                         

Almost half of them are from duct cleaning companies. The telemarketer’s phone numbers are generally unlisted. The names of the duct companies they claim they are representing are different each time they phone me and with the exception of one of them, the others weren’t even listed with Bell Information.  It seems to me that they are calling from the same source because their voices always sound the same as if they are calling me from India. If that is so, the CRTC can`t do anything to stop them since India has not agreed to join the international do-not-call network. By co-incidence, while I was writing this article, I received a call from a telemarketer who had a distinctively East Indian voice. He was phoning me on behalf of a company called, Duct Cleaning Home Services. When I told him that I am on the Do Not Call List, he said, “No you are not.” He was bluffing because I know that the only way I would no longer be on the Do Not Call List is if I contacted the CRTC and cancelled. When I asked him if he was calling me from India, he immediately hung up.                                                                         
I contacted Bell Telephone list of companies and the company is listed as Duct Cleaning Home Services and their address is listed as being at 789 Alness Road in North York, Ontario. When I called the number 647-930-1943, the number he gave me, no one answered but a minute later, the same man called me again and the number 1-416-2820 showed up on my call display. I looked at my records and discovered that I received a similar call from this same man representing Duct Cleaning Home Services on December 1st 2011. He told me even then that my number wasn’t on the Do Not Call List.                                                                               

I looked in the Internet and found a person who went by the name of MG. He wrote the following on May 15th 2012;

 I finally got these guys. They call from all kinds of un-registered numbers. When they called today I asked them for their phone number as I was having dinner. They passed me to their supervisor and I told them that I would like to speak to them. He gave me their number and company name. It was a registered phone number. They are Duct Cleaning Services, 877 Alness Rd North York Ontario 647-930-1943. I called the number and they answered with the company name. I have now reported this to the DNCL and I hope all of you do to as well as call the company and give them a piece of your mind.” unquote

 Well, I also called them back and gave them a piece of my mind and I reported them to the DNCI on July 23rd, not that it will make any difference.

 A person going by the name maryannexed said in her Internet message on May 10th 2012;  

“Comes up on call display as V05100256140003, calling number back brings up the ‘number not in service’ message. They are the Bright's Home Cleaning/AC Duct Cleaning/Ace Duct Cleaning scammers. Their number and area code change every week or so. They refuse to comply with requests to remove you from their lists and most of those clowns don't even speak English. Don't even bother to answer them when they call.” unquote

Complaints about telemarketers are dealt with by Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications—a branch of the federal government. The CRTC investigates consumer complaints regarding violations of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. The maximum penalties are $1,500 for individuals making the call and $15,000 for the telemarketing firm for every call they make to a phone that is listed on the NDNCL.                                                                                                          

 In December 2010, Bell Canada paid a record $1.3 million penalty for calling people who asked not to be called. Xentel DM Inc. paid $500,000 for misusing the exemption for charitable organizations. GoodLife Fitness Centres paid a $300,000 penalty on August 1011 for using automated calling devices to deliver a recorded sales message to members without first asking for their consent.                                                               

If the CRTC determines that there is a violation, it takes measures to bring the telemarketer into compliance with the rules—at least they say that they do. But do they really do this?                                                                                            

 The CRTC’s National Do Not Call List is a huge success according to the people who run it. They say that close to 10 million Canadian residential phone numbers (landline, cellular and fax) are now barred to telemarketers. But claiming that the telemarketers are barred from making calls to people on the NDNCL is like saying that if you close your doors at night, you won’t be burglarized.                    

As many as six out of ten people get in touch with the CRTC about telemarketers calling them even though their phones are registered on the Do Not Call List and complain about abuses of telemarketers still calling them. That has to amount to more than six million complaints having been filed since the list was set up in autumn of 2008.                                                                                                      

 The problem is that many telemarketing scams originate outside Canada. Your caller may be from India, but is using a fake number or blocking your call display altogether.                                                                                                     

 Andrea Rosen, chief CRTC telecommunications enforcement officer, thinks Canadians don’t complain enough. She wants people in Canada who get these calls to even file more telemarketing complaints. Will that make a difference?  If you think it will work, consider what King Canute a Dane who ruled England from 1015 to 1035, did. He was a down-to-earth man annoyed by flattering courtiers who tried to tell him that he was all-powerful. To demonstrate that he was not all powerful, he had his throne placed on the seashore, sat in it, ordered the tide to go back. He failed naturally and even got his feet wet in the process. The CRTC is not all powerful that it can stop the tide of unwanted and unregistered telemarketers from flooding our phones with their unwanted calls.                                               

 The CRTC claims that it needs to see a certain volume of complaints against a particular telemarketer—at least one complaint a day before they will conduct an investigation against the telemarketer. Does that mean one complaint a day for seven days, seven weeks, seven months or is it seven years—all in a row?                    

Is it possible that the CRTC isn’t really doing anything to small businesses in Canada when they hire telemarketers to make the calls on their behalf? Here is an example of that suggestion.                                                                               

On July 17th 2012, I received a call at 9:00 in the morning on my home phone. The call showed up on my call display as 877-894-0084. No one spoke when I picked up the phone. The next day I got another call with the same number showing up. This time it was at 3:00 in the afternoon. Again no one spoke on the phone. Each time I called their number, a recorded message came on saying that the mailbox belonging to CRS is full.”                                                                                     

I decided to conduct an investigation beginning with that number. The number is that of a telemarketing firm in Kitchener, Ontario called Callright Marketing Service. (CMS) Its last known address is Unit 22, 1601 River Road East in Kitchener, Ontario. Its phone number is 519-894-4566. According to its blurb in the Internet, its president is Wayne Vanwyck.                                                    

 Its ad on the Internet says in part; “Callright Marketing Services is an outbound telemarketing service bureau that promotes professional, ethical and results-oriented services to the business community.” unquote                           

Professional and ethical? I don’t think so. First of all, they should not be calling people on their home phones who are listed on the Do Not Call List unless they are calling on behalf of companies or organizations that are exceptions. If you do a Google search, you will see just how many people have been angered when receiving calls by this firm. Here are some of the more than 130 complaints I found on the Internet written about this firm.                                                                            

 On the Gordon Dewis blog, one of his readers wrote in part on July 28th 2009;                                                                                                                                      
…. when I answer my phone to CMS, I would have expected a response, not just someone listening on the other end and then hanging up on me EVERY time. I got all kinds of calls from them! All through the day and late in to the evening, all with the same response/result. If someone had of said something, I would have told them right there and then to remove my number from their list.” unquote                                                                                                                                                     Ujean89 wrote on the 10th of December 2008;

“Calls around supper time, never anybody at the other end if we answer and never leaves message on machine.” unquote                                                                  

Here is another such complaint. This one was written by A9C on the 16th in the nmonth of December 2008.

“Receiving calls from this number repeatedly throughout the day also in the evening. No one is ever on the line when I pick up. I called the number back and it says that the mailbox belonging to "CMS" is full.” unquote

Frustrated wrote on the 18th of December 2008;

“I got 4 calls in one day. They keep calling and when I answer no one is there and then it hangs up. I am on the DNC list. Why am I getting these calls?”

It looks like I am not the only person who gets these kinds of prank calls from that firm. There are many other similar complaints by people who receive these calls from that telemarketing firm. Is this the kind of professionalism one can expect from CMS? Are those kinds of calls by that firm what its ad calls professional?                                                                                                                                                                                         
Antonia wrote on the 18th of March 2009;

“This number has called me at different times during the day for the last several days, up to two or three times a day.” unquote

Monk wrote on August 12th 2009;

“I’m so f…… tired of these people harassing me, calling at least 20 times a week.” unquote

There are many other similar complaints about CRM’s repeated calls.                  

Angry in Ottawa wrote on the 3rd of September 2010;

“I called them back and it brought me to an automated voicemail stating: "If your calling for have your name added to the do not call list, please leave your phone number and name as well as a reason for wanting to be on the list” unquote

As you can see, some of their staff are uneducated. Why would CRM want the name and phone number of someone it had just called?                                     

Time doesn’t permit me to continue with the complaints written about CRM.

On July 25, 2012, I received a call from a man who claimed he was from Duct Cleaning Toronto. He said that his firm was at 3609 Sheppard Ave E in Scarborough. However, his phone number began with 905 and not 416 which is the prefix for Scarborough. Also the address doesn’t exist. The number that he called me from was 905-670-8775. That number is listed to an export company in Mississauga.

On July 28, 2012, I received a call from a man who said he was calling from The Home Care Experts and that his firm is located at 3231 Havington Avenue in Mississauga, Ontario. The only address for Havington Avenue in the world is in Scotland, not in Canada. His phone number is listed to an export company, not a home care company. There is no listing with Bell Information for a company called The Home Care Experts. He too said that he was calling from a duct cleaning company and like all the other so-called duct cleaning telemarketers, his accent sounded as if he was from India.

Obviously what these scammers really want is ID information from you once they got you hooked. Those are their real motives.

I am forced to ask this rhetorical question. What is the CRTC doing about it? Apparently nothing. There have been complaints filed with the people handling  the Do Not Call List complaints since 2008 and still the salespeople in these telemarketing firms are making their prank calls. Is the CRTC afraid of that these firms might bite them?

Maybe what is needed is a law that punishes the customers of Callright Marketing Service and the other telemarketing firms that they too they have been warned by the CRTC about the antics of CMS and other rogue telemarketers that the problems continue in their names. That probably won’t happen because the CRTC is too afraid of attacking CRM’s customers and these other telemarketers.



BeyondAnnoyed said...

I agree that these incessant and annoying phone calls need to stop. I had three such phone calls this morning. I am on the DNC list. By agreeing to speak to someone about a quote, I got this information from my last caller: The company is Aqua Air Duct Cleaning Service located in Toronto. Their web site is (confirmed). Their phone number is (647) 710-4995. I spoke with Ali. He tells me that in my area trucks are dispatched from a Cambridge location at 134 Fife Rd. I encourage everybody to collect similar information about these illegal pests and to complain to the CRTC. We need to put an end to such illegal telemarketing calls. Three in one morning.

BeyondAnnoyed said...

Like Dan, I encourage everybody to report these intrusive telemarketing calls to the CRTC. The callers know that they are in violation of the CRTC regulations, that they bothering 95% of their targets, and yet they persist. By agreeing to get a quote for duct cleaning and talking to a supervisor, here's the information that I was able to eked out. Company: Aqua Air Duct Cleaning Services located in Toronto. Web site: (confirmed). Caller: Ali. Phone number: (647) 710-4995 (given by Ali and confirmed on web site). Location of dispatch address for service in the Waterloo Region: 134 Fife Road, Cambridge. I encourage everybody to collect similar information when called (by speaking to a supervisor about the service you wish to schedule for your house) and then passing this along to the CRTC. If the CRTC can't act with this amount of detail, then they are hopeless and the DNCL is meaningless.