Bell Canada pays $10.3 million fine for false service price advertising

Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) coughed up CAD$10 (US$10.3M) million to pay a fine from Canada's Competition Bureau over false advertising claims about its consumer wireline and wireless services.

Although Bell, not surprisingly, disagreed with the fine, it did agree to pay the fine and stop advertising inaccurate prices for its residential bundles.     

According to a Competition Bureau investigation, the actual price residential customers paid for phone, broadband, satellite TV and wireless, contradicted what Bell advertised.

At issue were a number of hidden fees, including TouchTone, modem rental and digital TV services that Bell kept relatively hidden from consumers in fine-print disclaimers. One of Bell's online advertisements claimed that it could offer consumers a triple play (voice, video and data) bundle for CAD$69.90 (US$72) a month, but that price rose to CAD$80.27 (US$83) with the "mandatory fees."   

Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition, said in a statement that she was "pleased that Bell co-operated with the Bureau's investigation and is taking steps to correct the misleading advertisements."

This latest debacle with the Competition Bureau comes at a time when Bell Canada is trying to implement Usage Based Billing (UBB) on its wholesale ISP customers.

For more:
- CBC News has this article

Related articles:
Bell Canada increases wireline ARPU in Q1, but it wasn't enough to offset legacy losses
Wireline in the first quarter of 2011
Bell Canada's broadband meter is flawed, report says
CRTC approves Bell Canada's CTV acquisition with conditions

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