Canada’s Competition Bureau sues 3 wireless giants

Sep 14, 2012, 7:03 PM

Associated Press Writer

TORONTO (AP) – The Canadian Competition Bureau said Friday it is suing the country’s three biggest wireless carriers and an industry association for US$31.79 million (CA$31 million) in customer refunds over what it called “misleading” advertising of texting services.

“Our investigation revealed that consumers were under the false impression that certain texts and apps were free,” said bureau commissioner Melanie Aitken. She said many only discovered the fees when they got their phone bills.

The federal agency said it is seeking US$10.25 million (CA$10 million) each from Telus Corp., Rogers Communications Inc., and Bell Canada.

The three companies control 95 percent of the telecom market. The lack of competition means Canada has some of the world’s highest cell phone rates.

The bureau said its investigation concluded that Bell, Rogers and Telus, in conjunction with the association, facilitated the sale of premium-rate digital content, such as trivia questions and ringtones, for fees that had not been adequately disclosed.

The premium-rate digital content can cost up to US$10.25 (CA$10) per transaction. The agency said the telecom companies pocketed a share of the revenues.

The agency said it also seeking US$1.3 million (CA$1 million) from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, the industry’s main lobby group.

In a statement, the association said it had approached the Competition Bureau a year ago to seek guidance on how to make sure third-party advertisers are being honest with consumers. It said the wireless carriers don’t make or control the text messaging services in question but manage the billing on behalf of third parties.

“We were therefore extremely disappointed to receive an ultimatum to either enter into a specific settlement agreement or face immediate litigation,” the statement said.

Bell spokeswoman Jacqueline Michelis said the company was not commenting directly on the lawsuit, adding that the association’s comments speak on behalf of the industry.

Rogers and Telus did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

The legal proceedings are before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The huge, high-alt...
Associated Press

Chinese balloon soars across US; Blinken scraps Beijing trip

A Chinese balloon sailing across the U.S. drew severe Pentagon accusations and sent excited or alarmed Americans outside with binoculars.
20 hours ago
Protesters march Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn., over the death of Tyre Nichols, who di...
Associated Press

6th officer fired after beating death of Tyre Nichols

A sixth Memphis officer was fired Friday after an internal police investigation showed he violated multiple department policies in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols.
20 hours ago
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Denver Court throws out Wyoming doctor’s pill convictions

A federal appeals court on Friday threw out the convictions of a doctor accused of overprescribing powerful pain medication and ordered a new trial for him.
20 hours ago
A hiring sign is displayed at a restaurant in Rolling Meadows, Ill., Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. America...
Associated Press

A surprising burst of US hiring in January: 517,000 jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — For nearly a year, the Federal Reserve has been on a mission to cool down the job market to help curb the nation’s worst inflation bout in four decades. The job market hasn’t been cooperating. Consider what happened in January: The government said Friday that employers added a sizzling 517,000 jobs last […]
20 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...
Associated Press

$580M headed to 15 Native American tribes to fulfill water rights

Fifteen Native American tribes will get a total of $580 million to fund settlements that ensure access to water that's legally theirs.
2 days ago
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Biden’s handwritten notes part of classified documents probe

Some of President Joe Biden's handwritten notes are now a part of a special counsel’s investigation into the handling of classified documents.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Canada’s Competition Bureau sues 3 wireless giants