Image for The Globe & Mail: Rogers says defence of false advertising case a ‘slam dunk’
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The Globe & Mail: Rogers says defence of false advertising case a ‘slam dunk’

Last week we shared how Rogers is trying to seek court approval for using false advertising in their campaigns. By claiming 'fewer dropped calls' without the requisite data and testing, Rogers is now faced with a $10M fine by the Competition Bureau. In opening remarks to the trial made late last week, Rogers' lead lawyer issued a bold statement in saying that their case is a 'slam dunk'. With the Competition Bureau countering that testing was limited to a few select cities, conducted internally and produced a marginal difference in results to their competitors – it doesn't seem like the case is closed just yet. Article by Jeff Gray for The Globe & Mail Rogers Communications Inc. came out swinging in a Toronto courtroom on Thursday, saying the false advertising allegations from the federal Competition Bureau over the company’s “fewer dropped calls” claims are “completely without merit.”

“We say that effectively our case is a slam dunk,” Kent Thomson, Rogers’s lead lawyer on the case, said in his opening statement in the trial over the allegations.

The Competition Bureau alleges that Rogers used a “false and misleading” ad campaign in 2010, when it launched its discount Chatr cellphone service by boasting that it had “fewer dropped calls” than other new wireless carriers. The bureau, which is seeking a $10-million fine, says the claim was false and not backed up by “adequate and proper tests” as required by law.

Mr. Thomson said Rogers maintains the ads were truthful and that its evidence will show that its testing, using so-called “drive tests” that involve making calls on competitors’ networks from specially equipped trucks, is commonly accepted in the industry here and in the United States and Europe.

Earlier, lawyer Tom Curry, acting for the Commissioner of Competition, outlined the regulator’s case against Rogers, detailing the “extensive” ad campaign for Chatr, which he said did not refer to any of Rogers’s testing.

The bureau alleges that Chatr did not have fewer dropped calls than all other new carriers, as it claimed, in the months after the campaign launched in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

But even in cities where the ads’ claims were true, the bureau alleges that the message was misleading because the difference in dropped call rates over all cases was extremely small, less than one additional dropped call in 500, Mr. Curry said.

“The difference is so slight as to be imperceptible by a subscriber,” Mr. Curry told the court Thursday. “And as such it is misleading to suggest that a Chatr subscriber had fewer dropped calls.” Read more »

Read more at The Globe & Mail.

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