Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Product-specific Questions

National Do Not Call List (DNCL) Questions

File Format & Submission Questions

General Questions

Q. What does Cleanlist do?
A. Cleanlist provides data cleaning and enhancement services to organizations that want to have up-to-date, enhanced and/or properly formatted contact lists. For those that do not yet have a prospect list, our ResponseCanada™ database can provide you with a targeted prospect list that is filtered to your geographic and demographic specifications.

Q. How will clean data help our organization?
A. Cleanlist's data cleaning and enhancement services can save your organization time and money by improving your direct mail deliverability rates. For example, increasing your deliverability rate from 75% to 95% on a campaign with 10,000 mail pieces, with an expense of $1.00 per piece, reduces the cost of undeliverable items from $2,500 to $500 – a $2,000 savings!

Q. How does data "get dirty" over time?
A. There are many reasons why data "gets dirty" over time. To put it simply, many individuals do not contact all of their goods and service providers when they move or have a loved one pass. Additionally, many organizations end up with duplicate contact records due to process overlap or list merging issues.

Q. How often should our data be cleaned?
A. For many organizations, it is very important to have an up-to-date contact list at all times and for these clients we recommend running the National Change of Address (NCOA) and Deceased Suppression services on a monthly basis. For other organizations, it is recommended that you clean your list before the start of any direct mail or telemarketing campaign.

Q. Where does Cleanlist get its data?
A. Cleanlist works with a wide variety of data suppliers that include postal services, telecommunications companies, and market research firms. All data services provided by Cleanlist are fully privacy-compliant.

Q. Does Cleanlist offer U.S. data services?
A. Yes! Cleanlist works with a partner to offer U.S. data solutions to our Canadian clients. Please email for more information, including pricing.

Q. Does Cleanlist provide references upon request?
A. As a general policy we do not provide references in order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of our clients and third-party agencies. However, we do offer free evaluations. Email to arrange an evaluation.

Q. What exactly are postal codes?
A. Please refer to our "Postal Codes Explained" blog post.

Q. What are dissemination areas?
A. Please refer to our "Dissemination Areas Explained" blog post.

Q. Does Cleanlist have a reverse phone append service?
A. Yes! With one of the most up-to-date contact databases in Canada, our reverse phone append service (we call it Address & Name Append) is second to none. If you have a list of phone numbers and are looking to append names and addresses to it contact us today for a personalized quote!

Q. What code page does Cleanlist require?
A. Cleanlist's systems use a default code page of Windows 1252, which is the most commonly used. We can accommodate other code pages as long as they can be converted to Windows 1252.

Product-specific Questions

Q. Why is address standardization and correction included with every order?
A. Many of our services use mailing addresses as the primary factor in matching records. In order to ensure the best results we include the Address Standardization & Correction service with all orders.

Q. Why is supplementary paperwork required for certain services?
A. In order to comply with the regulations of some of our data suppliers, we require supplementary forms to be filled out and placed on file. If you require assistance in completing the required forms, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Q. Are ResponseCanada™ contacts processed through Canada Post's NCOA database?
A. Unfortunately, we are unable to directly incorporate NCOA data into our prospecting data products, but as a compromise we do flag any NCOA matches as "undeliverable". This allows our clients to avoid mailing to known bad addresses, while staying compliant with the requirements of the Privacy Act and requirements set by Canada Post.

Q. What happens when someone has moved out of the country?
A. When there is a contact that has moved out of the country the new international address will be returned. These are not flagged in any way, but the change of country in the address fields will reflect the updated address.

Q. How frequently should I run NCOA?
A. In the United States, the USPS requires that mailing lists be processed against the NCOA database with a minimum frequency of 95 days in order to be eligible for presorted or automation prices. In Canada, Canada Post does not currently enforce a minimum update frequency for NCOA processing, but it is recommended that organizations scrub their contact lists for movers on a quarterly basis. This ensures that contact information is up-to-date and campaign-ready at a moments notice.

To capture Canadian movers that did not register with Canada Post, please consider our new Proprietary Change of Address (PCOA) service, which can improve update rates by as much as 40% over Canada Post NCOA processing alone!

Q. Is NCOA processing useful for deceased identification?
A. No. In a given year, Canada Post's NCOA database only covers ~10% of all deceased Canadians. Even then, deceased/estate NCOA moves are withheld from the database for 1 year, until the forwarding order has expired, so those deceased records that are captured will be at least a year old by the time they are made available in the NCOA database.

Fortunately, Cleanlist offers a Deceased Identification product, the first of its kind in Canada, with coverage of over 90% in English-speaking regions.

Q. How can I identify / suppress deceased records in my database?
A. See these links for Cleanlist's Deceased Suppression and Deceased Identification services.

Q. What is the difference between Deceased Suppression and Deceased Identification?
A. In order to best serve clients that come from very different industries, we have developed two different deceased identification services – Deceased Suppression and Deceased Identification. For many marketers and other organizations looking to prioritize or remove prospects from direct marketing campaigns our Deceased Suppression service is the most cost-effective and simple solution. With very good accuracy, we will flag your prospect as 'Deceased Suppressed' or 'Not Deceased Suppressed'.

Alternatively, our Deceased Identification service is a much more precise and customized solution. We use an advanced algorithm that takes many factors into account, including date-of-birth (or age), and then assigns a confidence code to potentially deceased contacts.

Q. Where does Cleanlist gather deceased information?
A. Cleanlist's deceased information is compiled from over 150 different reputable sources, including funeral homes and community newspapers.

Q. How far back do Cleanlist's deceased records go?
A. Cleanlist officially launched its Canadian Deceased Identification solution in March, 2012. At that time, we had weekly coverage rate of nearly 100% of English-speaking Canada. In addition, the launch database included a history of approximately 1 million deceased Canadians.

Due the policies of our various data suppliers, the amount of history available varied across regional pockets. As a result, Cleanlist's history database has inconsistencies prior to 2012, with some areas being better covered than others.

On average, our historical coverage is as follows:

2012 + near 100% of English-speaking Canada
2009 to 2011 approximately 70%
2005 to 2008 approximately 40%
2000 to 2004 approximately 15%

Note: If we find a match to a contact on your list we will append the date-of-death.

Q. How many Canadians die each year?
A. Approximately 280,000 Canadians die each year. Of those, approximately 215,000 are in English-speaking Canada.

Q. For how long does Cleanlist retain deceased information?
A. Cleanlist retains collected deceased records indefinitely so records do not "roll off the file" after a set period of time.

Q. What type of coverage does Cleanlist's deceased service have?
A. Cleanlist collects data on deceased Canadians for nearly 100% of English-speaking Canada. The French-speaking province of Quebec and some parts of New Brunswick are covered less extensively.

Q. How often is Cleanlist's database of deceased Canadians updated?
A. To ensure we have the most up-to-date information, our database of deceased Canadians is updated on a weekly basis.

Q. What are the differences between the Deceased Identification confidence codes?
A. Cleanlist utilizes sophisticated algorithms to evaluate several data elements when cross-referencing your contact information to the national deceased database. Depending on the data elements that align, statistical probabilities, and other factors we consider, matches are assigned one of five confidence codes (C1 – C5). Confidence Codes are broadly defined as follows:

C1 matches (Highest confidence) are confirmed by:

  • Name and exact address, or
  • Name with close address and date-of-birth

C2 matches (Very high confidence match) are confirmed by:

  • Name, close address and age

C3 matches (High confidence match) are confirmed by:

  • Name and exact rural address, or
  • Name with initial, close address and age, or
  • Uncommon name and close address, or
  • Name and date-of-birth

C4 matches (Suspected match) are confirmed by:

  • Common name and close address, or
  • Uncommon partial name plus close address

C5 matches (Potential match) are confirmed by:

  • Partial common name and close address

To decide how to use the confidence coded results, you need to consider the implications of identifying someone as deceased. For instance, if you're preparing a direct mail campaign and want to prioritize contacts, you may simply suppress all contacts flagged deceased. Alternatively, if you're planning to close accounts for deceased contacts, we strongly recommend you do more research on the lower confidence level matches.

Q. What do the Phone Number Append match codes mean?
A. Cleanlist evaluates several data elements when cross-referencing your contact information to our database. Depending on the data elements that align, and other factors we consider, matches are assigned a match code.

C1 (Highest Confidence)

  • Verify
      • Match made on phone number + last name + consumer address, or
      • Match made on phone number + company name OR business address
  • Append
      • Match made on last name/company name + address

C2 (High Confidence)

  • Verify
      • Match made on phone number + last name OR consumer address, or
      • Match made on phone number + rural business address
  • Append
      • Match made on last name + rural address OR partial address, or
      • Match made on company name + postal code

C3 (Moderate Confidence)

  • Verify
      • Match made on phone number + rural address OR partial address, or
      • Match made on phone number only (consumers and businesses)
  • Append
    • Match made on same criteria as C2, but matched to more than one record

C4 (Moved)

  • Matched to C1, C2 or C3 level, but the person/company is no longer at the provided address. Phone number may be outdated.

C5 (Delisted)

  • Matched to C1, C2 or C3 level, but the phone number is no longer in the current directory. Phone number is likely outdated.

X1 (Not Found in Directory)

  • Phone number does not exist in our current or historical database. Also unable to find an append match to provided address.

X2 (Missing/Invalid Name)

  • No match was attempted because the person name could not be parsed.

X3 (Missing/Invalid Address)

  • No match was attempted due to missing or invalid address info.

X4 (Not Matched)

  • No match was found.

X5 (Mobile Phone Number)

  • Provided phone number belongs to a mobile phone. Phone number may be unlisted.

Q. Why do some records in the ResponseCanada Consumer database have missing and/or incomplete names, addresses, or phone numbers?
A. and its competitors in Canada are limited as to the sources of personal information available to collect and distribute by Canadian privacy law. See Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

PIPEDA allows for the collection and distribution of certain personal information including defined as:

(a) personal information consisting of the name, address and telephone number of a subscriber that appears in a telephone directory that is available to the public, where the subscriber can refuse to have the personal information appear in the directory goes to great lengths to correct and enhance the ResponseCanada Consumer data available to its clients. However, Cleanlist's efforts in this regard are limited by what data is made public in the available telephone directories.

To help its clients effectively use the ResponseCanada Consumer database, a Mail Valid and Phone Valid flag is added to each record to indicate whether the data is suitable for mailing and/or telephone contact programs.

Note that although ResponseCanada Consumer records are marked Phone Eligible, setting of this flag does not take the Canadian Do-Not-Call-List or DNCL suppression program into account. Clients who are bound by the DNCL regulations must ensure a DNCL suppression is completed before calling these numbers.

Q. What should I do if I get a consumer complaint about a name provided by Cleanlist?
A. Cleanlist's ResponseCanada Consumer database contains the names, addresses, and phone numbers of millions of Canadians. Despite Cleanlist's best efforts to clean and update its database, occasionally mistakes happen and a person listed is deceased or otherwise doesn't want to receive marketing messages. If someone complains, here's how Cleanlist recommends you handle it:

1. Apologize to the complainant and assure them that their desire not to be contacted will be honored. We don't want to them to escalate their complaint, and we especially don't want to bother them again.

2. Forward the complainant's name and full address and/or phone number to Cleanlist (email request to  The person will be immediately removed from Cleanlist's master database.

3. Advise the complainant that this action will ensure their name is removed from the Cleanlist database, but that they may also be on other lists that Cleanlist doesn't control. A broader solution is for the complainant to add their name the CMA's do-not-mail file which is circulated to many list providers, including Cleanlist. This list does have an expiry date so it is possible that they registered in the past but need to re-register.

They can do this online at

Or to remove their phone number from calling campaigns, register with the Do-Not-Call-List (DNCL) online at!/ or by calling 1-866-580-3625.

Q. How do I identify Movers in my ResponseCanada data?
A. Movers are identified by the Move Date field, which indicates the approximate date that this contact moved. With a ResponseCanada Consumer data installation including movers, contacts that have moved within the past 12 months will be populated with a move date. If you subscribe to the ResponseCanada Movers database, you will receive the most recent new movers each month.

Q. How do I identify Pre-Movers in my ResponseCanada data?
A. Pre-movers are identified by the Pre-Mover Date field, which indicates the approximate date that this contact's house was listed for sale. With a ResponseCanada Consumer data installation including pre-movers, contacts that were identified as pre-movers within the past 12 months will be populated with a pre-mover date. If you subscribe to the ResponseCanada Pre-Movers database, you will receive the most recent pre-movers each month.

Q. How can I tell which Pre-Mover records on my ResponseCanada data installation are still active?
A. Contacts can remain in a pre-mover state for some time, if their house remains listed for sale. You can identify these contacts by looking for records where the Pre-Mover Date field is populated, and the Move Date field is either empty or is before the Pre-Mover Date. A Move Date after the Pre-Mover Date indicates that the household has moved, and is no longer in a pre-mover state.

National Do Not Call List (DNCL) Questions

Disclaimer: The following summary of the Canadian National Do Not Call List rules and requirements is provided as a convenience to Cleanlist's clients. In no way does this summary constitute legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of an expert. For specific advice pertaining to your organization, Cleanlist recommends you consult your lawyer or the CRTC.

Q. What is the National Do Not Call List?
A. The Canadian National Do Not Call List (DNCL) was introduced in 2008 as a federal government initiative administered by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in an attempt to reduce unwanted telemarketing calls to consumers. At present, over 9 million telephone numbers are registered or approximately 40% of those publicly listed in the telephone directories.It's illegal to make a solicitation call to a consumer whose number is registered on the DNCL.

Q. What does the DNCL apply to?
A. The CRTC considers everyone who makes unsolicited phone calls (or sends faxes) to consumers a "telemarketer". The rules do not apply to businesses contacting other businesses. Registering as a "telemarketer" is mandatory for everyone making unsolicited phone calls. It's also mandatory that "telemarketers" subscribe (at a fee) to the list of do-not-call numbers, unless your organization is exempt (registered charities, political parties, market research firms, newspapers and those with existing business relationships).

Q. How does the CRTC define an "existing business relationship"?
A. If you call customers who have placed an order with you in the past 18 months, or prospective customers who have contacted you in the past 6 months, you're considered by the CRTC to have an "existing business relationship" and are exempt from using the DNCL.

Q. What are the penalties for non-compliance?
A. Failure to comply with the DNCL rules and regulations can result in CRTC-imposed penalties of up to $1,500 for individuals and up to $15,000 for corporations per violation.

Q. What does it cost to subscribe?
A. DNCL subscriptions are expensive. The subscription fees charged by the CRTC can be viewed at

In addition to the CRTC fees above, marketers will incur a cost to scrub their lists against the DNCL file. This service can be outsourced to Cleanlist or it can be done internally. Your Cleanlist account manager can provide you with a cost estimate for the type of service you'll require.

Q. How can I avoid paying the CRTC fee?
A. The CRTC doesn't allow companies to share their subscription outside their organization. It also doesn't allow service bureaus like Cleanlist to subscribe and share the DNCL list amongst its clients. Unfortunately, if your organization is making unsolicited phone calls to consumers, there's no way to avoid subscribing and paying the CRTC fees.

Q. What else do I need to know to be compliant?
A. In addition to registering with the CRTC and subscribing to the DNCL, you should become familiar with the "CRTC Unsolicited Telecommunication Rules". Key requirements include identifying yourself and the purpose of the call to the consumer at the beginning of the call and respecting time limitations.

It's also mandatory for all telemarketers (including those exempt from the DNCL) to maintain their own internal do-not-call list.

Q. How do I register with the CRTC and subscribe to the DNCL?
A. It's relatively simple to register as a telemarketer and subscribe to the DNCL list. The whole process can be completed on-line in less than 10 minutes. Here's the link where you can begin:

Register Your Organization

Q. How do I get or test my DNCL subscription credentials?
A. To get or test your organization's DNCL subscription credentials (the ones that Cleanlist needs to scrub your list), you need to first know your organization's Registration Access Number (RAN) and password. Use these credentials to log-in here.

Next, click "Access Subscriptions" on the left side under My Account. Your current subscription(s) will be listed by Subscription Access Number (SAN).

If no subscription is listed, it's likely expired. You'll need to register for a new one.

Click on the SAN for the subscription you want to use and the credentials will show. To scrub your list, Cleanlist needs your: RAN, SAN and Download Key.

Q. What information does Cleanlist need to scrub my lists?
A. Cleanlist is a registered service provider with the CRTC. If you wish to use Cleanlist's services to scrub your call lists, you need to provide the following information:

  • Registration Access Number (RAN) – This is the number used to log into your account.
  • Subscription Access Number (SAN) – Click "Access Subscriptions" to get your SAN.
  • Download Key – From the CRTC subscription page, click "Access Subscriptions" to get your Download Key.

Note that if you do not currently have an active subscription you will not be able to retrieve your SAN or Download Key. To purchase a new subscription, click on the "Purchase Subscriptions" menu item.

Q. Once my list has been scrubbed, how long is it good for?
A. A DNCL list scrub is valid for 30 days. Lists scrubbed more than 30 days ago must be scrubbed again before they can be used for telemarketing.


Additional DNCL Resources:

File Format & Submission Questions

Q. How do I submit my data for processing?
A. Files may be securely exchanged (both to and from Cleanlist) using the myFiles web application, available from the home page.

Your data may be submitted in any format. The most common formats are: CSV, SDF, Tab Delimited, Excel, and DBF. Unless you request otherwise, your data will be returned in the same format as was submitted.

Q. How can I ensure that my data meets the file format specification?
A. If you are using our self-service website, please visit our File Format Specifications page where file types, encoding and input fields are discussed. If an improperly-formatted input file is received, your order is likely to encounter delays and possibly conversion fees.

If you are unable to provide a file in the necessary format, please consider our Full-Service delivery option.

Q. How secure is my data?
A. The security and integrity of your data is very important to us at Cleanlist. We only accept and transfer data files through our secure myFiles web application and while your data is at Cleanlist, it is warehoused in our world-class data centre. Please see our Information Security page for more details.

We do not accept data via email, nor do we return data files by email.

For advice, estimates, or to place an order,

call us at 1-800-454-0223 or email