September 7 2007 by Ellen Roseman
Last night, I got a phone call just as I came home from the grocery store, carrying in the first load of bags. It was a long-distance ring, a bad sign, since that’s often a signal for telemarketing calls.
Sure enough, it was someone from a wilderness federation who wanted to ask for money. It seemed I had given $15 to a door-to-door canvasser, out of sympathy, and now I was on their calling list.
I cut him off and said I was busy unpacking groceries. I’m not a big supporter of this charity, if it is indeed a charity. After the canvasser left, I’d checked the slip I was given and realized it wasn’t an official charitable receipt for tax purposes.
Canadians might get some relief from telemarketers when the CRTC finishes setting up its national do not call list. But don’t hold your breath. There are plenty of exemptions:
* Registered charities (calls made by them or on their behalf)
* Political parties
* Calls made for the purpose of public opinion surveys
* Newspapers of general circulation (for subscription solicitation)
* And businesses with whom you have an existing business relationship (for example, businesses from which you have purchased goods or services within last 18 months).
Now here’s a question, sparked by a complaint I received from Larry (reprinted below). What if your bank calls you to pitch expensive and useless insurance for a credit card? Does that fall under the exemption for an existing business relationship?
If so, you should hang up on the bank’s outsourced telemarketers since may get talked into paying too much. But if you’re as lucky as Larry, you’ll find a champion at the bank to help out.