Competition Bureau issues warning to online video streaming services

The Competition Bureau has issued letters to operators of online video streaming services in Canada, warning them to review their marketing practices and related terms and conditions.

Under the Competition Act, terms and conditions cannot be used to hide the real meaning of a marketing message or to bury important information, such as the true cost of a service.

During a review of streaming service websites and applications, the bureau noticed that information provided is not always clear and the language used difficult to understand. The bureau said in some cases important information related to pricing or cancellation rights is buried or simply missing.

The intervention is the result of the annual International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) internet sweep, spearheaded by the bureau, in collaboration with international partners. This year’s sweep focused on terms and conditions in the digital economy.

“Compliance campaigns like this one are one way we can guide businesses in the right direction. We expect that the targeted online video streaming services will take this warning seriously,” said Matthew Boswell, Interim Commissioner of Competition.”

Where possible, the bureau seeks to promote voluntary compliance with the Competition Act without resorting to lengthy and costly court proceedings. Businesses are invited to consult the bureau’s terms and conditions best practices for businesses.

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