The CRTC announced today that Bell Canada has paid a $1.3 million penalty for violating the National Do Not Call List Rules.

The government found that between January and October of this year, call centres acting on behalf of Bell Canada solicited consumers who had registered their numbers on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) or who were or should have been on Bell Canada’s internal do not call list.

The purpose of the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) is to allow Canadians to opt out of receiving unwanted telemarketing calls, however, critics and members of the public have been complaining for years that firms, such as Bell, continue to solicit them over the firm.

The CRTC’s investigation found that complaints from Canadians were valid and that, in contravention of the rules, telemarketers hired by Bell Canada were calling Canadians on the DNCL list in order to sell its television, telephone, wireless and Internet services.

“All telemarketers must respect the wishes of Canadians who have registered their telephone number on the National DNCL or requested that a telemarketer include their number on its internal do not call list.” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s Chief Telecommunications Enforcement Officer.

In a separate investigation, the CRTC also found that Bell Canada had used automated calling devices to communicate with its prepaid mobile customers without obtaining their prior express consent. Bell Canada did not admit fault, however, the firm has said stopped making the calls and, for reasons that were not disclosed, made a monetary payment of $266,000 to the Institute for Information and Systems Engineering at Concordia University.

Bell issued a written statement later in the day saying it acknowledged the calls had been placed on its behalf to numbers registered on the National Do Not Call List (NDNCL) and Bell's Internal Do Not Call List.

Consumers who have registered on the National Do Not Call List can file a complaint about a telemarketer by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (3625) or visiting www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca.

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