Nothing on this site should be regarded as legal advice. For answers to legal questions about the Do Not Call List please consult your lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
The only place you can legally get a copy of the do not call list is the official government web site at www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca. No one else is authorised to sell you the list. It is illegal for us to allow a non-subscriber to have access to the data on the do not call list. That is why our demo is based on imaginary information using area codes which do not exist in Canada.
You legally obtain a list of numbers it is safe to call by registering on the official site, subscribing to the portion of the list you need, and using the downloaded data to scrub or look up any numbers you intend calling. We will download the list, integrate it with your internal company do not call list, and keep records of all the numbers you check against the list. By doing so we provide you with proof that you are doing due diligence as a telemarketer and making proper and timely use of your subscription.
What you get from the official DNCL web site is raw data - just a list of numbers you should not call. You can use the list with your own scrubbing software or to look up individual numbers using a word processor search facility, but you will still have to maintain and search your own company do not call list, and check your current client list, and record each number you check and call as evidence of due diligence. This is the part we help you with.
So, if you want to use our service, here is what you must do:
It may be that you don't spend your day on the phone cold calling, but as far as the government is concerned, if you ever use telecommunications technology to make an unsolicited call or send a fax to a consumer for the purpose of solicitation, then you are a telemarketer.
Just one such call makes you a telemarketer to the CRTC.
An unsolicited call is one which the consumer did not ask you to make. You might just be innocently following up a referral, but if you call, it will be unsolicited.
If you are selling or promoting a product or service, or requesting money or valuable return, whether directly or indirectly, for yourself or for someone else, then you are engaged in soliciting. If you hire a third-party to make calls for you, they are subject to telemarketing rules and regulations and you could be held responsible for what they do. This covers a wide range of activities, from sales to calls to requesting charitable donations. Any organization has the potential to be a telemarketer so it is important for all organizations to learn about the National Do Not Call List (NDNCL).
Even if you do not engage in any kind of telemarketing, any time you place a call to a consumer, even if that consumer is a client or former customer, you could be asked to place their number on your do not call list (DNCL). If this happens, you must comply, and the same rules will apply as to the National Do Not Call List. That means
You don't, but you do have to subscribe to the Do Not Call List.
Let's put this in the words of the Do Not Call List operator, from their web site as of October 17th, 2008:
Read about this for yourself at the official site.
A download key is a code that you give to a third party service organisation to enable them to access your subscription and download your data for you without giving them direct access to your account's registration or subscription by means of your password.
You find the download key by logging on to the National Do Not Call List web site using your password, and looking at each of your subscriptions. The download key will be right there on the screen. It is different for each subscription. Simply copy and paste each download key from the web site into the booking form so that we can put it onto your company subscription records on our system.
We do not want the power to alter your account, so we only ask for the minimum information needed to collect the National Do Not Call List data for you. When we update our records with the National Do Not Call List operator we must reference each download key by means of its registration and subscription codes. That is why we request this information on the booking form.
The National Do Not Call List operator knows when your copy of the list has been downloaded for your use. Taking the download, whether you do it or we do it for you, supports your claim of due diligence. We take care not to allow your data on our server to get out of date. Any time you enter an area code on the Lookup page of Call Tracker you will see the date on which the National Do Not Call List for that area was last downloaded. It must be downloaded every 30 days, but we do it more often than that. (Weekly on Sunday morning at present.)
If you ever decide that you do not want someone to access your data any more, then you simply request a new download key from the National Do Not Call List operator. The old one that you have given out will then be useless. If you do obtain a new download key, be sure to tell us what it is so we can continue to update your copy of the National Do Not Call List.
The Regenerate link is used to protect your subscription. Do NOT click the Regenerate link unless you know what it does and you mean that to happen.
When you give out your subscription and download key to a third party so they can process your DNCL data for you, you are giving them unrestricted access on your behalf to the CRTC managed list that you paid for. If you want to change your service provider then you need some way to let your new service provider get access to your DNCL data. At the same time you should also deny your old service provider access to your subscription. You do this by changing the Download Key, which is accomplished by clicking on this Regenerate link. When you click it, the CRTC makes a new key for you and revokes the old one, with immediate effect. You need to give your new third party service provider the new key. The old key will stop working, and your previous supplier will no longer be able to access your subscription.
If you accidentally regenerate the key, then you must give us the new key right away. Until you do, we will be unable to download your list data for processing, and can only refer you to the old data last downloaded before the key was regenerated.
If you suspect that someone is gaining unauthorised access to your subscription, then you can block them by regenerating the key. The Regenerate link is provided to you by the CRTC to enable you to control access to your subscription.
We do have some list scrubbing capability.
The idea behind list scrubbing is that you submit a list of numbers and get back a 'clean' list that excludes numbers on the Do Not Call List. You could take a list of names, numbers and addresses - a selection from canada411.ca, or your client list - submit it, and receive back a list showing which are safe to call.
users with sufficent security clearance (power users, supervisors and
administrators) can access the 'Scrub' menu option.
One version was designed to work with
data and will take such a
list and return the results, with options to select the OK or Do Not Call numbers.
Another version was made to locate and scrub phone numbers from a selection of columns in a spreadsheet.
Call Tracker was built for people who use their phone for the occasional telemarketing campaign, but mainly use it as an everyday business tool. We are not here to protect the big, busy telemarketers who raised the outcry that led to the Do Not Call List. We want to help the average small business survive the Do Not Call List without getting hurt by investigations and fines. The full answer therefore is we do offer list scrubbing capabilities but for occasional use, not geared to big call centers.
This is not legal advice, just common sense. If you want legal advice, ask a lawyer.
The law is intended to target those who flagrantly ignore, evade or flout it. The best way to protect yourself against fines is to take yourself off the radar by doing your best to follow the rules. A genuine mistake seems unlikely to be penalised if you are making a credible effort to do right. Unfortunately it is not quite enough just to do right, you also should be prepared to prove it. Lawyers call this due diligence.
Apart from making yourself aware of the rules and keeping up to date with changes, due diligence seems to consist mainly of:
The foundation of due diligence is training. Train your staff and have evidence of who was trained and with what material.
(1) Register with the National Do Not Call List - it costs nothing to register. Everyone must register, even people who are exempt. This doesn't make a lot of sense, but regulations sometimes don't even if they need to be obeyed.
(2, 3) If you are not exempt then subscribe and either query the list with the numbers you plan to use or download the list to query at your convenience. If you don't query online at the National Do Not Call List site then be sure to take a fresh copy at least every 30 days.
(4) Make your latest copy of the list available to everyone making sales calls. Keep a record of who has it and when they got it.
Everyone should keep records of the numbers they call and when they called. Also why, and with what results, regardless of whether they got a machine, or even no answer at all.
Each person using the phone should look up every number they call, before they call, unless they have a really good reason not to look (and that reason should be on the call record). It isn't much good having the list if you don't use it, and use should be as automatic a habit as possible.
(5,6) Most of the foregoing also applies to your internal do not call list. You must train on using and maintaining it, keep it up to date and circulate it regularly with documentation of its maintenance and distribution. It has to be used, and the use recorded just like with the National Do Not Call List only more so. Remember that even if you are exempt or have a good excuse to call, the person you intend to call could be on your internal do not call list, and the same rules and penalties apply to it as for the National Do Not Call List!
You may be tempted to ignore the issue of an internal list because no one has ever asked not to be called, and probably no one ever will. Think again. Your internal company do not call list is important, even if it is blank. The procedures to maintain, distribute and use it need to be in place as part of your effort to prove your intent to adhere to the law. Having those procedures in place is a part of due diligence that you cannot afford to skip if you mean to protect yourself properly.
When individual organisations upload their own data then each controls the quality of its own data. We have no means of certifying the quality of that data. We cannot be sure it is not an old copy, contaminated with bad information, or even completely false, so we cannot safely allow any other organisation to share it. Individually uploaded data must therefore be segregated and used only by the organisation that uploaded it. It must have separate storage on the disks and must also be separately backed up, which takes time and yet more storage. Each copy of the National Do Not Call List requires a certain amount of computer memory (RAM) to maintain a reasonable speed of access for lookups. The more organisations that have individual copies of the data, the more memory we need. Since each computer can have only so much memory, this can also affect the number of servers required.
If we upload the data then we control the quality of the data. We can be sure it came direct from the official National Do Not Call List site, and we know how current it is. We can therefore safely allow those who are licensed for access to share the list in accordance with the provisions of the National Do Not Call List regulations. That saves us storage, backup time, and most important of all, memory (RAM) and computing power. Unfortunately the list maintainers do not provide an automated method of downloading. We are not alone in having asked for automated download, but they simply don't offer it at this time. We also must take care to schedule downloads so each individual subscription is downloaded at least every 30 days to maintain our subscribers' claims to due diligence. Downloading is therefore a manual process that takes time and incurs labour costs.
We separate the cost of integrating with the National Do Not Call List for the benefit of those customers who are exempt and only want to maintain an internal Do Not Call List. Charges for accessing your national do not call list subscription are therefore separate, intended to cover either the hardware and computing resources required for an uploaded list, or the time and organistion involved in scheduling and performing the download. To encourage you to choose the method you prefer, we have the same fee for list access whether you upload or we download.
The CRTC keeps a record of all the download activity on your account. Although it seems you can call a number for up to 30 days after you check it, you can really only call it for 30 days after the date of the download on which you checked it. Even if we may post a more recent download to your account, if it has not been downloaded through your CRTC subscription then there is no record to show that you have a download of that date. That means you can only use the number you look up until 30 days after the date of the last download done on your subscription. Consequently, if you use a number after that date you cannot prove that you are in compliance, and you could wind up in trouble. If you want to have the maximum time admissible to call the numbers you look up, then it is advisable to have a daily download. You can do this for yourself, or if you prefer we will do it for you for a fee. A download for all our subscribers once per month is included in the basic service. We generally download once per week, but we do not guarantee more often than once per month.
You can use a tablet computer (or smart phone) in the same way that you use a regular computer. There are some special challenges involved.
The first of these is the way the keypad will overlay the screen on a tablet. This can hide some of the fields, and more importantly hide the alert popups. If an alert is hidden by the keypad then you cannot get to it to cancel it without hiding the keypad. Bringing back the keypad will trigger the process that pops up the alert again. Solve this problem by turning your tablet to landscape mode so the keypad comes well below the popup. That way you can cancel the alert without hiding the keypad and you will not get into an endless loop of alerts and keypads. You will also find it helpful to expand the screen and reposition it to keep the fields you are using in view and above the keypad.
The scond challenge comes if your tablet lacks a TAB key (eg. the Playbook). Use of the TAB key is not essential, since it is only necessary to select a new field by touching it in order to simulate a TAB key. You will also find that in some instances the RETURN key will substitute adequately for the missing TAB key. One exception to this is logging on, since there are only two fields (name and password) in the left margin part of the screen. In this situation changing user names can lead to an endless loop of logins or failures where the keypad and alert box conflict with one another. Get around this by logging out before trying to log in as a new user. This will break the loop sufficient to allow you to log in correctly. Do the same if you get a failed login due to a miskeyed name or password.
Once you have logged in you will want to center and expand the screen to make the fields as large as possible in order to be readable and useful.