Telecom company halts texts and calls to frustrated customer who believed he had opted out of receiving marketing communications

Early resolved case summary #4

Complaint summary

A customer of a major mobile telecommunications company was receiving marketing texts and calls from the company even though it had confirmed to him that he was not supposed to receive them. He believed that his several requests to resolve the problem were not followed up adequately. He then asked our Office to intervene.

Consequently, the telecommunications company conducted an internal investigation, which revealed that customer care staff were unknowingly relying on outdated and ineffective processes to shield customers from marketing material, rather than using the more current processes in place. After the customer found that he was still receiving marketing texts despite corrective actions taken by the organization, a second investigation was conducted. It revealed that only the customer’s primary phone number under his account had been designated as having opted out of marketing communications. Unknowingly, several other of his phone numbers under that same account were opted in, which resulted in him still receiving marketing texts.

Outcome

As a result of our intervention, the company provided remedial training about the correct processes to those employees. In addition, the internal investigation detected a technical flaw in the way customer preferences for receiving marketing material were flagged. The company confirmed to us that it had addressed both the training and technical issues, including ensuring that all of the customer’s phone numbers were opted out of marketing communications. As a result, we closed the individual’s complaint since he was satisfied with the actions taken by the organization and happy that his complaint had resolved a problem affecting other customers.

Lesson Learned

  • Organizations shall implement policies and practices to give effect to the principles of PIPEDA, including training staff and communicating to staff information about the organization’s policies and practices.

January 2014

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