Enterprise allegedly advertised rental prices that failed to properly disclose Non-Optional Fees. The bureau found that the advertisements were materially false/misleading since the advertised prices were unattainable by consumers. In fact, the mandatory fees increased the advertised prices by as much as 6% to 48%. The false/misleading representations were made across multiple channels, including on Enterprise Websites, in Mobile Apps, and in email campaigns.
Enterprise has agreed to:
• Modify its advertising to appropriately disclose fees and the limitations of any advertised percentage-off discounts
• Implement a compliance program designed to prevent deceptive marketing
• Submit a report on compliance within 120 days
• Submit compliance reports on demand (within 30 days of written request)
• Pay a monetary penatly of $1,000,000
jbho: not a CASL case per se, but since the false/misleading messages were communicated via email, the actions violated CASL as well. Thus, I’ve added this case to my CASL Tracker.
CASL Private Right Of Action On Hold
The government has repealed the section of the 2013 order that would have enacted the private right of action under the Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act.
jbho: another one that’s been well covered in the media. I don’t have much to add other than don’t forget, this would also have applied to:
• Use of harvested addresses (email, IM, or similar)
• Deceptive (email) marketing
Competition Act: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-34/index.html
Competition Bureau Settles With Amazon Over ‘List Prices’
Amazon allegedly allowed misleading ‘list prices’ to be displayed for items on amazon.ca. The Competition Bureau determined that although Amazon relied on its suppliers to provide list prices, it failed to verify the prices were accurate before using them in its own advertising. The alleged inaccurate list prices (hence misleading savings) were then advertised on amazon.ca, in Amazon mobile apps, in online ads, and emails.
The Bureau found the prices listed could not be validated based on (i) volume of sales (market suppliers did not sell the evaluated product in substantial volumes at the quoted list prices), or (ii) sales over time (market suppliers did not sell the evaluated product at the quoted list prices over the previous six months).
Under the settlement, Amazon has amended its list price advertising, and must pay a $1 million penalty, as well as pay the Competition Bureau an additional $100,000 to cover the costs of the Bureau’s investigation. The Bureau commended Amazon for its cooperation in the investigation, as well as for voluntarily taking proactive steps to ensure compliance with the Competition Act.
jbho: a reminder to perform timely due diligence on your business partners.
Note that the ASA recently cited amazon.co.uk, alleging similar conduct:
“Because they had not substantiated that the item was generally sold at the RRP, we concluded that the ad … was misleading.” https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/amazon-europe-core-sarl-a16-343173.html
For a quick refresher on pricing claims, see: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/20100409_OrdinaryPriceClaims-e.pdf/$FILE/20100409_OrdinaryPriceClaims-e.pdf
And finally, since the (alleged) deceptive prices were in emails, the emails violated CASL as well – despite the fact the emails were complaint in all other aspects https://certimail.ca/en/articles/amazon-complies-but-is-still-fined-1-1-million/
Other interesting developments in the Great White North: