Telemarketing frustrations

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Is it me or do you want to personally bash the person who calls, uninvitingly and for an extremely irrelevant reason, to wreck your peaceful slumber or ruin perfect dinners by trying to sell you long distance lines? Or is it duct cleaning? A free cruise, perhaps?

Well, if you've been alert you know that Canada finally made its do not call list available to consumers Sept. 30.

The response was earth-shattering and website freezing. According to Canada.com, 218,201 consumers had already signed up and the DNCL website had already suffered a handful of errors due to the high volume by 1:30 p.m. And why not? Telemarketers' phone calls are one of the most vexing things in the world.

It's encouraging to see Canada has finally implemented such an old idea, but it comes with its own share of disappointments as well. Even after registering your number you are not exempt from calls by Canadian registered charities, political parties (riding associates, candidates), newspapers, organizations conducting market research, surveys or public opinion polls and telemarketers with whom you have had recent contact or an existing business relationship, according to the DNCL official website.

It's good enough blocking out a major chunk of annoying phone calls, but the list should extend to the rest. This list is just paving the way for the excluded groups to legitimize their calls. No inclusion in the list, no complaints, no fines. Charities, survey organizations and political parties can call you all they want and still get away with it-- a clear indicator of how dependant businesses (including charities) are becoming on invading consumers' personal time to bombard them with ads and offers. It is common knowledge that such businesses call during times when consumers are expected to be home: meal times, weekends and evenings. It is pathetic enough that an average consumer is subjected to ads on television, cell phones, billboards, newspapers, magazines, the web and even walls. The list is endless, but the point remains that businesses will do anything to invade your private time, even if it is in the washroom stall, to pitch their products and services.

Rewind a couple decades and the difference is more than obvious.

Waynesthisandthat.com examined the increase in commercial time on TV by showing the percentage of time commercials took of the show's allotted time. In 1952, 13 per cent of the time was spent on commercials. In 2004, commercial time had more than doubled to 30 per cent, leading to 32 per cent in 2008. The increase in TV commercials was accompanied by an increase in commercials in every field imaginable. It is obvious that as technology grows, opportunity for business grows and subsequently so do commercials.

What businesses fail to recognize, however, is that forcing their products and services on their consumers may cause them to run. This is more than evident with telemarketing. You are more likely to buy a product as a result of your own research, bargaining or whatever your expertise is, than buy it from an insistent telemarketer who calls everyday at dinner time. Not only may these types of repetitive calls discourage the consumer, they create anger and hatred towards the company in question.

It's about time businesses kept their ads to a minimum. If they had been doing so, there would have been no need for the DNCL or angry consumers, for that matter.

To opt out from the exempted organizations, visit iOptOut.ca.