CRTC issues first anti-spam penalty: $1.1M fine for Compu-Finder
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, March 5, 2015 11:32AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, March 5, 2015 1:16PM EST
OTTAWA -- The CRTC is preparing to mete out a $1.1 million fine against a company it accuses of "flagrantly" flouting Canada's anti-spam legislation.
Quebec-based corporate training company Compu-Finder has 30 days to contest the CRTC's ruling.
The Compu-Finder case represents the first time the CRTC has sought to impose a financial penalty under the anti-spam law, which came into effect in July.
The CRTC alleges the company sent commercial emails to consumers without their consent and did not allow recipients to unsubscribe from the mailings. The investigation was based on reports of four apparent violations of the law last year between July and September.
"This case stood out because of the flagrant nature of the violation," said chief compliance and enforcement officer Manon Bombardier.
"They have not made any effort to change their business practices.... People were unsubscribing and they were still getting emails, and some even made additional efforts to contact the company to say, 'I unsubscribed, I'm still receiving emails,' and despite those additional efforts they were still getting emails."
Bombardier said the CRTC has received more than 245,000 complaints since the first phase of the anti-spam law kicked in. Consumers continue to submit about 1,000 complaints a day, she said.
Compu-Finder was flagged for investigation as it accounted for more than one quarter of the spam complaints received that were related to training companies.
Bombardier said the company was notified of the CRTC's investigation and was given the opportunity to come into compliance with the law.
Complaints about Compu-Finder date back well before the spam law went into effect.
Blog posts as early as 2008 on the website of Montreal newspaper La Presse detail fruitless efforts to stop a flood of emails from the company.
A spokesperson for Compu-Finder was not immediately available.
Bombardier said she did not have any figures on complaints filed under the second phase of the anti-spam law, involving computer programs, malware and spyware, which came into effect in January.