The Competition Bureau has obtained a court order to advance its ongoing investigation into some of Bell’s telecom marketing practices.
The bureau revealed this week it started a formal inquiry into Bell’s practices last August under the deceptive marketing provisions of the Competition Act. It’s examining potentially false and misleading representations made in connection with the promotion of Bell’s residential services, including home phone, internet and television sold separately or in bundles.
It had to seek a court order because the country’s independent telco watchdog, the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS), maintained that handing over the information voluntarily would violate its confidentiality obligations.
The order granted by the Federal Court of Canada requires the CCTS to produce records, including copies of consumer complaints filed against Bell relating to its residential services, and written responses to the bureau’s questions.
“Ensuring truth in advertising and sales practices is a priority for the Bureau and we will not hesitate to take action if there is evidence that the Competition Act has been contravened,” states a release issued by the Bureau on Thursday.
A CRTC report on Misleading or Aggressive Communications Retail Sales Practices, released in Feburary, concluded that misleading and aggressive sales practices were present in every type of sales channel, including in store, online, over the telephone, and door-to-door and occurring “to an unacceptable degree.”
Bell has consistently been the most-complained about provider, accounting for 30.9% of all complaints handled by the CCTS in its most recent report looking at the period from Aug. 1, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2019, a decrease of roughly 2.5%, compared to the 2017-18 Mid-Year Report.
The Bureau is encouraging anyone who feels they have been misled as a Bell customer to contact them and file a complaint.
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