updated 09:50 pm EDT, Tue June 28, 2011
Carrier settles with Competition Bureau
Bell Canada is currently facing a $10 million fine to settle an investigation into the company's advertising practices. Canada's Competition Bureau accused the telecommunications provider of using misleading advertising for its range of products, which includes landline phone service, Internet, satellite television and cellular.
The Bureau found that Bell has been charging customers higher prices than advertisements would suggests, with extra mandatory fees buried in the fine-print disclaimers. Fees included necessary add-ons such as modem rental, TouchTone, and digital television services. For Internet and television services, the advertised price was approximately 15 percent below the actual cost to subscribers.
"When a price is offered to consumers, it must be accurate," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "Including a fine-print disclaimer is no licence to advertise prices that are not available."
In a statement, Bell claims it "fundamentally disagrees with the Bureau's position." The telecom provider argues that its advertising has followed common industry practices, in compliance with the law, however the company is nonetheless willing to pay $10 million to resolve the issue.
The consent agreement also requires Bell to change its misleading advertising within 60 days.