Postmedia: Rogers seeks court approval to lie to Canadians
Today Rogers is butting heads with the Competition Bureau in the Ontario Superior Court. This big telecom company is seeking court approval to lie to Canadians in their advertising. This after Rogers was called out for making false claims in their ads.
Pro-Internet community member Brian Kno—who shared this on our Facebook Wall—boils it down well: "If they win then every single conman could claim the same bull!"
Article by Sarah Schmidt for Postmedia News:
A company’s right to free expression is up against Canada’s truth-in-advertising rules as Rogers Communications and the Competition Bureau begin to duke it out in court Tuesday over the constitutionality of the Competition Act.
In the first of its kind in Canada, Rogers will ask the Ontario Superior Court to strike down a key provision in the federal law requiring companies to have “adequate and proper” tests of a product’s performance before making performance claims in advertisements. Rogers says this testing requirement violates its right to freedom of expression enshrined in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The telecom giant will also argue the hefty financial penalties that the Competition Bureau can slap on a company for making a false or misleading claim are unconstitutional because a $10-million administrative penalty is in effect a criminal fine, yet the process does not afford the company the safeguards of the criminal law process guaranteed in the Charter.
The company’s legal manoeuvre comes after the Competition Bureau went to court in November 2010 seeking to levy a $10-million penalty for an alleged misleading advertising campaign involving a discount cellphone carrier of Rogers.
The Chatr advertising campaign, launched with the entry of upstart competitors like Wind Mobile in the market, claimed that Chatr had “fewer dropped calls than new wireless carriers” and its customers have “no worries about dropped calls.”
If Rogers is successful, the case could have ramifications for other laws in Canada — and the advertising industry, Michael Janigan, executive director and general counsel at Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said in an interview.
“At its root, the case effectively advances the proposition that companies that advertise shouldn’t be forced to actually have the facts and evidence on hand before they make a claim and it somehow devalues public discourse if they are forced to do so. With all due respect to that position, it sounds a bit like a Madison Avenue wet dream,” said Janigan, a reference to New York City’s iconic street that housed most ad agencies in the industry’s early years and is now used rhetorically for advertising.
Read more at ottawacitizen.com