TORONTO – Canada’s broadcast regulator has ordered penalties totalling $643,500 against five companies for violating telemarketing rules after an investigation in which it entered and searched a company’s headquarters for the first time.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said three of the companies were located in Canada and two in India.
The Canadian companies — Thee Future Web Ltd., 8166200 Canada Inc. and NextGen Webstore Ltd. — were fined $194,000, $76,000 and $56,000 respectively.
The remaining $317,500 in penalties have been levied against two companies based in India, which were not identified in a statement issued by the CRTC.
During the investigation, the CRTC obtained and carried out a warrant to enter and inspect one of the company’s operational headquarters in Brampton, Ont. The November 2015 operation was the first of its kind for the CRTC, which did not identify the company concerned.
The companies allegedly broke telecommunications rules by calling Canadians registered on the national do not call list, the CRTC said in a statement.
During the phone calls, the telemarketers allegedly misrepresented themselves as representatives of either Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or the Canadian government while attempting to sell anti-virus software.
Some of the telemarketers requested remote access to people’s computers, claiming they would remove any viruses and malicious software.
These companies were neither registered with the national do not call list operator nor did they subscribe to the list.
Each company has 30 days to pay the penalty or file representations to the CRTC once served with the notices of violation. The Indian-based companies have yet to be served.