The administrative monetary penalty (AMP) was paid by a Florida
company as part of a settlement for making unsolicited
telemarketing calls via an automatic dialing-announcing device
(ADAD) to offer cruises to Canadians, many of whom have their phone
number registered on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL). In
addition, the company did not possess a valid exemption to the
The robocall campaign in question offered allegedly free cruises
to call recipients in exchange for answering a survey. While
the telemarketing rules do not apply to true surveys, if the
Commission is of the view that the survey is used as a means of
generating leads for the purpose of solicitation, known as
"selling under the guise", the calls will be considered
to be telemarketing calls and the rules will apply.
The CRTC has, in the past, entered into compliance agreements with
foreign telemarketers; however, today's announcement marks the
first case in which a foreign telemarketer has agreed to pay an
administrative monetary penalty under the Telecommunications
Act. The Company has also volunteered to
cease making unsolicited telemarketing calls to Canadian
Enforcement actions against foreign operators are time-consuming
and necessarily rely on the cooperation of foreign regulatory
agencies. The CRTC indicated that during its investigation,
it worked closely with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It
may be that the settlement with Canadian authorities was aided by
the fact that a similar investigation for robocalls was underway in
the US against the same companies. In this regard, it was announced earlier this month
that the FTC and 10 state attorneys general had also taken action
against Caribbean Cruise Line Inc. and seven other companies that
assisted in a massive telemarketing campaign that resulted in
billions of robocalls.
In the CRTC announcement, the Commission's Chief Compliance
and Enforcement Officer noted that this cross-border investigation
sends a message to foreign-based telemarketers that they must
comply with Canadian telemarketing rules when calling into
Indeed, today's ruling may serve to take the wind out of the
sails of non-compliant foreign telemarketers.
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In less than nine months, on July 1, 2017, persons affected by a contravention of Canada's anti-spam legislation will be able to invoke a private right of action to sue for compensation and potentially substantial statutory damages.
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