The industry said it was surprised by the decision to sue. The CWTA said the Competition Bureau should go after the advertisers who send the allegedly deceptive messages, and added it was the industry that alerted the bureau to the problem in the first place. A Telus spokesman slammed the bureau for being more interested in scoring political points.
At the crux of the bureaus case this time is the allegation that the three carriers, in conjunction with the CWTA, facilitated the sale of content, such as ringtones and trivia questions, that appear to be free but end up slapping consumers with costly fees.
There are roughly 700 text-message based services that operate in Canada. About one-fifth of them are considered premium meaning they charge fees that are over and above a consumers regular plan. The bureau estimates premium-texting services cost up to $10 per transaction or a maximum of $40 for a monthly subscription.
Ms. Aitken said shes been investigating for five months, and although she tried to reach a deal with the providers it became clear in the last week that they wouldnt stop billing customers for the services on their own.
She said the companies pocketed between 27 and 60 per cent of the charges being passed along to their customers, who often unwittingly signed up for the messages while playing games and entering contests on mobile phones and tablets.
Rogers and Telus accused the bureau of passing the buck of enforcement on to the carriers.
We dont have the authority to regulate advertising by other companies. The Competition Bureau is the enforcement body that does, and we asked them to enforce that. They ignored that, Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said. It seems to be more of political move aimed at three high profile targets rather than going after the real culprits here.
He added: Due to the Competition Bureaus actions today, we may have no choice but to cancel premium text message services in Canada altogether.
Depending on how this turns out, it might mean the end of mobile PIN submits and a lot of the mobile offers that are out there right now in Canada. The big three have 93% market share in Canada so if they end up having to shell out for this they might end up getting out of the business completely, as Telus is implying that they might do.
Which countries haven’t toughened PIN-submit rules yet ?
there are some.
With good CPAs: Spain, Italy, Norway, Greece.
Lower CPAs, but potential for huge volumes: Latin America, Turkey, Poland, some asian countries.