Technology Science - Marketers phoning more do-not-call listers

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An increasing number of Canadians on the national do-not-call list say they are getting more unwanted calls than before they registered.

The latest survey of people who have signed up not to get marketing calls found that 80 per cent of registrants reported receiving fewer telemarketing calls than before they put their number on the list, down from 84 per cent in 2010, polling firm Harris/Decima reported Thursday.

In addition, 15 per cent of do-not-call list registrants said they actually receive more telemarketing calls than before they joined the list, up from 12 per cent in 2010.

Brendan Wycks, executive director of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, which commissioned the survey, said in a statement that the finding is "troubling and underscores the need for tough penalties for telemarketers who persist in telephoning people who have registered" with the list, launched in September 2008.

The association represents and self-regulates Canada's marketing and public opinion research industry.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has the power to fine individuals up to $1,500 per violation and corporations up to $15,000 per violation. In December, it fined Bell Canada $1.3 million for breaking the rules.

Wycks said the national telecommunications regulator has "made strides" in issuing significant fines against violators, but faces challenges. He said many telemarketers use machines that dial Canadian phone numbers randomly from overseas and pay no heed to the list.

The random phone survey of 2,035 Canadians aged 18 or older was conducted between Feb. 24 and March 6, 2011.

It is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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