DRTV ruling

Direct response selling could be in for considerable change after a recent ruling by the Canadian Radio-television and Telcommunications Commission that permits phone companies to offer consumers the option of having their purchases charged directly to their telephone bills.Since April 1,...

Direct response selling could be in for considerable change after a recent ruling by the Canadian Radio-television and Telcommunications Commission that permits phone companies to offer consumers the option of having their purchases charged directly to their telephone bills.

Since April 1, businesses can use enhanced service 900 numbers. Members of Stentor, the telephone consortium, are expected to participate in the venture, although Saskatchewan’s SaskTel has expressed its opposition.

If the plan goes ahead, consumers ordering an item from a direct response tv spot, for example, will see the amount charged added to their monthly phone bill. The phone companies will then pass on the revenues, less a flat fee and a 10% levy on the amount charged.

If, however, a phone bill is left unpaid, the phone companies will withhold payments to vendors.

The crtc decision means the popularity of 800 numbers could wane as the cost of enhanced 900-number service is borne entirely by the consumer. One estimate suggests up to 20% of 800 calls do not produce revenue.