August 29, 2014 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau is pleased with a decision on July 30, 2014 by the US District Court of Maryland ordering Aegis Mobile, LLC (Aegis), a company located in the US, to hand over information that will assist the Bureau in moving forward with its Premium Text Messaging case. Aegis was contracted by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (the CWTA) to collect and analyze advertising used to promote digital content.
The US court compelled Aegis to produce documents to the US Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) so that the FTC could deliver those documents to the Bureau. This marks the first time a US court has granted this kind of investigative assistance to obtain information on behalf of the Competition Bureau. The decision is important as it reflects the Bureau’s ability to reach beyond Canada’s borders when enforcing the Competition Act, and highlights the commitment of the FTC and the Bureau to work together to ensure that businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
The Premium Text Messaging case involves allegations by the Bureau that Canada’s three largest wireless companies have been charging their customers for premium-rate digital content (such as trivia questions and ringtones) that their customers did not intend to purchase or for which they did not agree to pay. The Bureau’s investigation concluded that Rogers, Bell, TELUS and the CWTA exercised control over the alleged deceptive marketing practices, and that Rogers, Bell and TELUS kept a significant share of the revenues from the digital content.
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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.