Rogers Communications challenges false advertising lawsuit with freedom of expression
A case between the Competition Bureau and Rogers Communications Inc. resumed in an Ontario court Tuesday (August 7). In November 2010, the Competition Bureau—an independent law enforcement agency that oversees Canadian businesses and consumers— filed a lawsuit against the Canadian telecommunications company on the basis of false advertising in its 2010 Chatr campaign.
According to advertisements and marketing campaigns, Rogers claimed that Chatr subscribers had “fewer dropped calls than new wireless carriers” and had “no worries about dropped calls”. However, the Competition Bureau asserted that Rogers did not conduct adequate or proper tests on its product or have fact-based evidence available in order to make this claim. Thus, the bureau asked the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to order Rogers to pay a $10 million penalty, pay restitution to affected customers, stop the Chatr advertisements, and issue a public apology.
According to Postmedia News, Rogers, however, is challenging the case, arguing that regulations on claims made in advertisements and marketing campaigns go against its right to freedom of expression as outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The company is asking Ontario court to eradicate a principle in the Competition Act that requires companies to test products prior to making claims about them in advertisements.
This is the first time that a provision in the Competition Act has been challenged in Canada and could mean a change in the way companies advertise products in Canada if Rogers is successful.
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