CRTC and Telus reach agreement on automated calls

OTTAWA — Telus (TSX:T) has reached an agreement with Canada’s telecommunications regulator after it broke the rules by using automated calling devices to contact customers without their permission.

OTTAWA — Telus (TSX:T) has reached an agreement with Canada’s telecommunications regulator after it broke the rules by using automated calling devices to contact customers without their permission.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says an investigation found Telus was using automated calling devices to contact prepaid mobile customers to warn them their minutes were running out — and how to buy more to avoid an interruption of service.

The devices can only be used to contact customers if they have given prior consent.

The CRTC says Telus has no admitted fault and it has not formally found the company liable, but the telecommunications company has voluntarily agreed to stop making such calls without prior consent.

“Our crime, if you will, is that we were using these devices, the technology, to notify our customers that they were about to lose service, which we thought was a service to our customers” said Michael Hennessy, senior vice-president of regulatory and government affairs at Telus.

“We’ve agreed that on a going forward basis that we will accept their interpretation,” he said of the CRTC’s decision.

“The only thing they criticized us for was sending automated messages to our pre-paid customers that their service was going to run out, which in our view is an efficient and common sense way of trying to help our customers out.”

The company has also agreed to make a $200,000 charitable donation setting up a scholarship in telecom policy and regulation at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.

Telus will also review its compliance policies to make sure it complies with the CRTC’s rules on automated calling devices.

The CRTC began an investigation in 2008 after receiving some consumer complaints.

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