Registering with the National Do Not Call List is easy, but getting all telemarketers to stop calling your home will be much harder. There are numerous exceptions to the DNCL, and they seem to be for the telemarketers who call most often. But with further steps and a little bit of vigilance, you should eventually be able to get the calls interrupting you at home down to a minimum. The less useful telemarketing is overall, the sooner companies will be looking to move on - hopefully to something less annoying.
Register on Canada's Do Not Call List
Adding your name to the National Do Not Call registry is a quick and easy first step. Visit the website or call 1-866-580-DNCL from the phone you wish to register. Telemarketing companies have 31 days from the time you register to take your number off their list. Mark the day on your calendar when telemarketing calls should stop. Registration is only valid for three years, so if you have one of those fancy multi-year calendars you should also make a note to self about when to renew your DNCL registration.
Know the Exceptions
There are still numerous companies that are allowed to phone you, whether or not your number is on the Do Not Call List. They include registered charities, political parties, newspapers and polling, surveys or market research companies. Also, companies you have an existing relationship with can call you for a certain number of months afterward, depending on the relationship.
See the DNCL webpage for details on exempt telemarketers.
Get Your Name on Internal DNCLs
Except for polling/research companies, all exempt organizations now have to keep an internal Do Not Call List. The next time you get a call from one of those organizations, ask to have your number added to their internal DNCL.
If you'd still like correspondence - from a charity you support, for example - but just don't like the phone calls, you could ask to be added to their email list instead.
If it has been more than thirty-one days since you put your number on the Do Not Call List and you get a call from a non-exempt organization, take down either the phone number the call came from or the name of the telemarketer (preferably both) and the time and day of the call. You should ask for the telemarketer's name, the supervisors name and the company name rather than answering any questions. Afterward, return to the DNCL website and click on "File a Complaint" to report the violation.
Watch Out for Hidden Consent
Another way that a non-exempt company can continue to call you is if you give them permission, which you may do without realizing it. Anytime you fill out an online or print form that includes your phone number, check the fine print carefully and look onscreen for preselected check boxes that indicate consent to be contacted.
Spread the Word
The September 2008 launch of the Do Not Call List was well publicized but if you have family, friends or neighbors who are still learning English they may not understand what the list is for or how to register.
Seniors or anyone who isn't very web-savvy may also appreciate help navigating the website. The more people who sign up for the DNCL, the less attractive telemarketing will be to companies.
When a Call Does Come Through, Be Nice but Be Firm
If the thirty-one days has yet to elapse or you get a call that's truly exempt, learn to just say no. Salespeople are taught to look for any window to keep the conversation going, and if you give a reason for why you're saying no, it becomes an invitation to discuss your objections. Even "No, I don't think so" or "No, thank you", can prompt a telemarketer to ask why. If they persist you can always try "I've already said no, so I'm going to hang up now", then do exactly that.
Visit MichaelGeist.ca if you're interested in learning more about privacy, copyright and many other legal issues currently in flux for Canadians.
If you're going to ask some organizations to switch you to an email list, consider setting up a second email account first that you can check once in awhile, instead of having newsletters and donation requests and such in your daily inbox.
There is the possibility that when companies no longer find telemarketing useful, direct mailings will increase. You can try posting a "No Flyers/Junk Mail" sign on your mailbox to reduce unaddressed mail and to stop addressed mail from many companies you can sign up with the Canadian Marketing Association's Do Not Mail service to be taken off the mailing lists of their members. Visit the "Consumer Information" section of the-cma.org.