Rogers launched Chatr Wireless in 2010 – an uber sub-brand that offered no-contract and unlimited talk and texts. The main goal of adding Chatr to their wireless mix was to compete against newer players such as WIND Mobile, Mobilicity and Public Mobile.
Shortly after hitting the market, competing carriers took offence to the claim of Chatr, which hooked onto Rogers’ network, had “fewer dropped calls than new wireless carriers.” These newer carriers stated this was “abuse of dominance” and complained to the Competition Bureau that the ads were misleading for consumers and requested Rogers pay a penalty of $10 million.
The courts took action and did some testing of the networks. At the end of the day, back in August of last year, declared that Rogers was off the hook for false advertising claim as their network did have few dropped calls, however could potentially face penalties for failing to conduct adequate testing in Calgary and Edmonton before making its advertising claim.
Today, the Ontario Court of Justice has “ordered Rogers to pay an administrative monetary penalty of $500,000” for not doing its due diligence before making performance claims about dropped calls for its Chatr brand.
Rogers noted in a press release that “We were shocked and surprised the Competition Bureau tried to levy such a significant and unwarranted fine. This was the first time in the world where a regulator applied to fine a company for truthful, factual advertising… We remain committed to meeting the highest possible standards of accuracy and clarity in all of our ads.”