With Covid-19 dictating how we do business, many advisors have had to adapt more technology in their practices, with zoom meetings becoming the norm. Many advisors pre-Covid, still practiced the old traditional methods of prospecting including websites and seminars. With the inability to prospect face to face, some have been thinking about using telemarketers to generate leads. This practice has been used by many for years on the life and investment side as well as on the group side. With people complaining about this practice, the federal government in 2005 has stepped in and enacted new rules called DNCL (Do Not Call List) to give consumers the ability to reduce the number of telemarketing calls they receive. You might be thinking that was a long time ago when these rules were enacted, and chances are you never heard of any issues in our industry, until now!
The Insurance Portal just released an article that speaks to hundreds of agents and brokers in real estate, mortgage and investments, that have been held accountable for using a company that violated the telemarking rules. There are strict rules to follow for individuals and businesses who hire a firm to make calls on their behalf such as ensuring that the telemarketer is updating its calling list and that no calls are being made to consumers whose telephone numbers have been registered on the National Do Not Call List for more than 31 days. Should the telemarketer fail to do so, the contracting individual or business can be held liable for their violations. As part of this investigation, the CRTC issued 44 citations, 258 warning letters and 23 notices of violation with penalties totaling $103,300!
If you are thinking of doing this type of prospecting or are already doing it, we encourage you to ensure that the 3rd party companies you hire are fully in compliance with the National Do Not Call List and the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. Should they fail to do so, the companies will ultimately be held accountable and you will be caught in the middle of an already difficult working environment. Below are some of the rules and regulation around the DNCL. I hope you found this article informative and wish you continued success for the remaining 2020!
Who Can Still Call You
Registering on the National DNCL will reduce but not eliminate all unsolicited calls. There are certain kinds of calls that are exempted from the National DNCL Rules. The exemptions include unsolicited calls made by, or on behalf of:
Political parties, riding associations and candidates;
Persons or entities collecting information for a survey; and
Newspapers of general circulation, for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions.
Telemarketing calls from persons or organizations with whom you have an existing business relationship are also exempt. You are considered to have an existing business relationship with a telemarketer, or a client of a telemarketer, if you have:
Purchased, leased, or rented a product or service in the last eighteen (18) months from the telemarketer;
A written contract with the telemarketer for a service that is still in effect or expired within the last eighteen (18) months; or
Asked a telemarketer about a product or service within the last six (6) months.
Telemarketers may also call you if you have provided express consent to be called. Express consent includes:
Your permission on a written form, electronic form, or an online form; or
Your verbal permission, in an audio recording or verified by an independent third party.
National DNCL Rules do not apply to telemarketing calls made to businesses, including telemarketing calls made to any personal telephone number also used for business purposes.
What about calls from market research or polling firms?
Calls from individuals or organizations made solely for the purpose of market research or surveys are also exempt from the National Do Not Call List Rules, and internal do not call lists are not required for this type of call pursuant to s. 41.7(5) of the Telecommunications Act.
While these calls are exempt, they are not considered telemarketing calls under the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. Under the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, telemarketing must be for the purpose of solicitation and such calls are not for the purpose of solicitation, as defined under the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.
Providing Your Personal Information
You should be aware that by entering a contest or signing your name on a form, you may unwittingly be providing express consent to be called. This includes filling out warranty cards, service contracts or application forms.
You can also reduce unwanted unsolicited telemarketing calls by exercising care when providing your telephone number and noting when and how your information is being used.
Business-to-Business Calls are Exempt
You should also note that business-to-business calls are also exempt from National DNCL Rules. The National DNCL Rules do not apply to a telemarketing
telecommunication made to a business consumer. Therefore, business numbers are not to be registered on the National DNCL, including personal telephone lines that are also used for business purposes.
Organizations' Internal Do Not Call List
You may further reduce unwanted telemarketing calls by directly and expressly making a request to a telemarketer to place your number(s) on their and/or their client’s internal do not call lists. However, people and organizations who are not telemarketing or soliciting, such as those making calls solely for the purpose of market research or surveys, are not required to maintain these lists.
Additional Information and Resources
Claudio Viola, CFP, CH.F.C., B.A.S.
Business Development Manager