Company Offering Free Cruise in Exchange for Answering Survey Fined by CRTC

OTTAWA—The U.S.-based company responsible for those pesky calls proclaiming that you’ve won a cruise has been fined $200,000 for breaking telemarketing rules.

In addition to paying the penalty, Florida-based Consolidated Travel Holdings Group Inc. has agreed to stop making unsolicited telemarketing calls telling Canadians they had won a free cruise to the Bahamas in exchange for answering a survey.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission launched its investigation after receiving complaints from Canadians.

The federal regulator worked with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate the complaints.

The CRTC said Caribbean Cruise Line, which is owned by Consolidated Travel Holdings Group Inc., used an automatic dialing-announcing device to offer cruises to Canadians, including many who have their phone number registered on the national do not call list.

“This cross-border investigation sends a message to foreign-based telemarketers that they must comply with our rules when calling Canadians, and shows that our efforts to shield Canadians from unwanted telemarketing calls are yielding results,” Manon Bombardier, the CRTC’s chief compliance and enforcement officer, said in a statement.

“We appreciate the assistance we received from the Federal Trade Commission over the course of our investigation. We are pleased to report that Caribbean Cruise Line co-operated with our investigation and has now voluntarily ceased making unsolicited telemarketing calls to Canadian consumers.”

The national do not call list was launched in 2008 and has more than 12.7 million numbers registered.

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