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Rogers: Correcting Our Inaccurate Ads Violates Our Free Speech
Canadian Regulators Found Wireless Ad Claims Inaccurate
by Karl Bode 09:31AM Thursday Aug 09 2012
Here in the States, we've seen Verizon try to claim that this country's new network neutrality rules (which are actually quite weak) violate the company's First Amendment rights. U.S. cable industry lobbyists have also tried to claim that keeping networks neutral and protecting them from anti-competitive behavior violates ISP free speech rights. Canadian cable operator Rogers is taking a similar approach, fighting off criticism of misleading ads by Canada's Canada's Competition Bureau, by claiming their free speech rights are being violated.

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More specifically, Canada's Competition Bureau found that technical data did not support Rogers ad claims that their Chatr wireless service was more reliable than other services. Rogers' response? Have the law changed so that making false claims about your product is perfectly acceptable:
...Rogers will argue that the court should strike down a section in Canada's Competition Act that requires companies to undergo "adequate and proper" tests of a product’s performance before making advertising claims about it. According to published reports, the company will argue that requirement violates the right to freedom of expression contained in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Competition Bureau stands by its claim that data does not support Rogers ad claims, and has been seeking restitution to customers alongside a $10 million administrative penalty. Here in the States, it has become increasingly rare to see false advertising claims punished and corrected (all four carriers having the nation's "largest 4G network" comes to mind).

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East Amherst, NY

Free Speech?

These are not "people" --well at least our supreme court foolishly thinks so, they are for profit companies and thus what they say are under consumer protection clauses and should be regulated. Before such laws existed people were selling snake oil in the streets.

So I guess what they are saying is that they have replaced snake oil with telecom. Fitting, snakes...

What they are saying is in essence we can make up whatever we want and not be held to it. In that case, their contracts should all be voided then

This ranks up there with unlimited internet and unlimited VOIP, or unlimited until it is no longer highly profitable.

Lake Zurich, IL

Re: Free Speech?

said by elefante72:

These are not "people"

Yes, they are collections of people. Employees, owners, managers, investors. All people.

If they weren't people, they wouldn't be able to do any of the awful things that people accuse them of.

Hazelwood, MO

Re: Free Speech?

Your comment is so stupid I dont know if you are being sarcastic or serious.

In no way is a company nor a corporation a person in any way shape or form. Something consisting of people, does not make it a person you and the supreme court saying otherwise is shear stupidity.

Lake Zurich, IL

Re: Free Speech?

I'm quite comfortable siding with the Supremes, especially if it's the alternative to your opinion.

Mississauga, ON

Re: Free Speech?

No, he's right. A company or corporation is the enbodiedment of a organization, not a person or a individual.

A organization does have the thought process of what it's goal is, it's needs and wants, like that of a person, but it isn't a human being per say.

It's easier to look at it like a bus, it only goes one way, whether you like it or not, you rode on it, you are a passenger on it.

So no, companies and corporations are not people, it's a name, a business, used by groups of people, under the guise of a identity.

You can be a part of Roger's company and they'll say things like "We at rogers would prefer" and it would be applicable to you too, regardless if you deny what Rogers says as a company.

Domino Dude, POWER Systems Guy
Hollywood, FL

Re: Free Speech?

said by dra6o0n:

No, he's right. A company or corporation is the enbodiedment of a organization, not a person or a individual.

All true but totally irrelevant. I actually disagree with SCOTUS on the subject of an organization being the same as a person.

However, the First Amendment that so often times trotted out in these arguments does not say in it's text that it is to only apply to people.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The purpose of such amendment, like others, is to set the guidance for the actions of government. Congress shall make no law... it does not state that law must only apply to individual citizens.

So while I think the argument VZ and others have made regarding their 1st Amendment rights being violated when having to adhere to consumer protections is laughable, making the statement that the Amendment only applies to people is in fact without basis - at least in literal read of the text. In spirit did they mean citizens...probably. But that's not what it says.

There are also many out there who think that the 1st provides the right of every citizen to say whatever they want without the burden of consequence, and that's simply not at all true. Your employer, your friend, folks who think you're full of crap...none of them violate your 1st amendment rights by calling you out on your BS.

The 1st only applies to government's actions. And that's where these guys are complaining. Again, I think it's crap but that's the application they are using.
TheGlobalMind.com / Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go? / Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. - Ralph Waldo Emerson / Free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity.

Los Angeles, CA

False Advertising == Free Speech?

This should be an interesting one to see play out. For Canadian consumers' sake, I hope that Rogers' effort falls flat on its face though.

Tavistock NJ

Re: False Advertising == Free Speech?

Even if allowed to lie, which I don't agree with, their competitors will quickly call them out on it. Problem solved.

Elwood Blues
Somewhere in

Re: False Advertising == Free Speech?

Not here, they're all in collusion with each other, in the name of Marketplace Symmetry " of course.

Etobicoke, ON

Re: False Advertising == Free Speech?

said by elwoodblues:

Not here, they're all in collusion with each other, in the name of Marketplace Symmetry " of course.

That doesn't count with WIND, which is why this whole thing came up in the first place.

Richmond Hill, ON

Re: False Advertising == Free Speech?

WIND can't advertise like Rogers which is what this is about, not speech and companies in general can not say anything negative directly about competitors in advertising unless they want to exposure themselves to getting sued.

Etobicoke, ON

Re: False Advertising == Free Speech?

said by quidnunc:

WIND can't advertise like Rogers which is what this is about, not speech and companies in general can not say anything negative directly about competitors in advertising unless they want to exposure themselves to getting sued.

No, it's about Rogers straight up lying in their advertisements and WIND called them out on it. It doesn't matter if what is said in their ad has any relation to their competitors or not. A company cannot blatantly lie in their advertising here.
Heave Steve, for the good of the country

Re: False Advertising == Free Speech?

said by 34764170:

A company cannot blatantly lie in their advertising here.

At least not until the regulator & courts are bought and paid for.

said by FFH5:

Even if allowed to lie, which I don't agree with, their competitors will quickly call them out on it. Problem solved.

Why would they do that when simply telling bigger lies would be more profitable especially if there would be no consequences involved?

Wouldnt this just be the free market at work?

Los Angeles, CA
But I've often seen companies publishing blatant falsehoods, get called out by competitors, yet people believe the lies anyways. A problem then arises down the road when these consumers find out they were fed bullcrap and find themselves facing penalties & fines if they wish to terminate a product that could never perform as advertised.

Pure caveat emptor systems historically have left consumers being royally boned.
Space Elf
Mullica Hill, NJ

Re: False Advertising == Free Speech?

Which is why companies require arbitration instead of lawsuits now in their TOS. If they do lie out the nose and snag a few million customers they do not have to fear a massive class action.
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


·Start Communicat..


Well firstly Canadian corporations don't get counted as people the way the US ones are. Second, lying about your product in hopes to make a sale is not free speech. That's called con artistry.

If any judge rules in favor of rogers, are system is truly broken and is a sign for me to leave this country.
London, ON

Go for it

I say strike down the law..... and then consumers can ask the police to charge the powers that be at Rogers for fraud if they make false claims. Careful what you wish for Rogers.

Etobicoke, ON

Re: Go for it

Wishful thinking if you think it would work like that.
Whats a Posting tag?

Bellingham, WA
·Comcast Formerl..

1 edit

Okay how about this?

Speaking about America...

Any company can use their "free speech" to lie about their service.

Then our government should have the duty to point out these lies under the Consumer Protection Act.

Just like how herbal remedies have to state that their claims are not supported by the USDA FDA.
Bellingham Scanner Kicks Ass! »bhamscanner.kicks-ass.org/

Washington, DC

Re: Okay how about this?

Actually in the US intentional lies are not protected by the first amendment in most cases. The exceptions being in political ads, obvious satire and fluffing (ie best pizza in the world). That said intent must often be proven stop lying which is where regulatory agencies come into play or more often than not don't.



Rogers need to let the moths out of the wallet

The root cause of all Rogers problems is they never spent one red cent to upgrade anything ever! Their cable internet doesn't work, their digital cable television is all pixelation and their wireless is substandard to most third world countries. The late Ted Rogers is to blame for all of this and his kids are still carrying on the tradition of the Rogers name.

Etobicoke, ON

Re: Rogers need to let the moths out of the wallet

and in troll world the earth is square too..

Bedford, MA


is expected to be a lie. No one should expect advertisements to be the full truth.



main issue

main issue with this suit is the penalty of 10 million bucks in the dispute process. apparently this fine can not be disputed in a federal/provincial court of law, therefor the fine can be considered unconstitutional. Same goes for any regular person who gets a ticket or fine or penalty. If the ticket can not be disputed in a real court of law, the monetary penalty is unconstitutional.

Rogers is still a lying sack of feces and trains their employees in the art of bs to avoid actually giving customers truthful information 100% of the time. Is your internet out or ports/programs are blocked? Well then don't tell people its the customers computer for months and months when rogers knows very well rogers(or insert another isp here) is doing the blocking.



Compnoys are not humans

A Company is not a human (or person) there for has no amendment rights.

new network neutrality rules apply to the Company it self and not the people who work there.



The argument will fail

under Section 1 of the Charter. The Charter allows restriction of certain rights, when the objective is reasonable (R. v Oakes). The Charter is very different from the US constitution in that respect.

The real argument that Rogers makes, buried beneath the click-generating headline (at the source), is that their testing showed their claims to be true, and therefore said claims did not violate the Competition Act. This is the argument on which I think they have a chance of success (reality notwithstanding).

Toronto, ON

Clarification from Rogers_Chris

Folks, @Rogers_Chris here hoping to share our perspective on this case. We normally wouldn't comment on ongoing legal matters, but what's being disseminated and what's actually at issue seem to be two completely different things.

Our position is that we strongly support clear, accurate and consumer friendly advertising. We’re committed to truth in advertising and support legislation that prevents false claims and protects consumers, including the Competition Act. We're not challenging that fundamental principle.

We are also not asking for truth in advertising protections to be struck from the Act. Our position in this case is that the advertisements of Chatr were true and accurate in every respect and were supported by adequate and proper testing. Our argument is that two specific provisions of the Competition Act being relied upon by the Competition Bureau in this proceeding are constitutionally invalid.

They are:

1. We believe that the 2009 increase in the fines to $10 million and to $15 million for subsequent events makes this provision effectively criminal in nature (not civil) and so the rights and protections guaranteed under the Charter for criminal proceedings should apply.... for example, the presumption of innocence. We believe that is inappropriate to permit such large penalties under the civil provisions of the Act when parties don’t have the same rights and protections guaranteed under criminal proceedings. Those safeguards include: the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial and to make full answer and defense. Many commentators have raised concerns about this provision for this reason.

2. The requirement for what is called an `adequate and proper test', which requires such tests be performed before a company makes a performance claim. This has meant that advertisers, not just Rogers but also the individual business person as well as larger companies, could be prohibited from making perfectly true factual claims that are substantiated by well-established scientific principles, just because they hadn’t done testing.

I hope this helps give those interested in this case an idea of where we're coming from and what we're trying to argue for. Thanks for taking the time to hear us out.


London, ON
·WIND Mobile
·Rogers Hi-Speed

Re: Clarification from Rogers_Chris

said by Rogers_Chris:

Folks, @Rogers_Chris here hoping to share our perspective on this case. ..............snipped the rest....................

Let's be realistic...no one really cares where Rogers is coming from. This uncaring attitude mainly stems from the years of screwing over your customers. If you're looking for sympathy, you probably won't find many people who would offer any.

Not that my opinion matters. Even if by some fluke Rogers was slapped with the fine and hand was slapped for lying, it would only be a matter of days before the entire thing disappeared. There are a lot of hands in Rogers' pockets.

Admittedly, A Teksavvy Fan

Toronto CAN.
·TekSavvy DSL

Freedom to lie and deceive??

They all do it. That doesn't make it right and it's great to see any one of them called on the carpet and fined heavily for this.
If my online experience is enhanced, why are my speeds throttled?? BHell... A Public Futility.