$1,25 Million Fine
The Competition Bureau of Canada recently announced that car rental companies, Hertz Canada Limited (Hertz) and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Canada Inc. (Thrifty), have agreed to pay a $250,000 fine plus additional fees for sending emails with deceptive promotions—advertised prices in said emails did not include certain mandatory service fees.
Upon hearing that the Competition Bureau of Canada was investigating similar practices from their competitors Avis and Budget, Hertz and Thrifty executives voluntarily approached the Bureau to address their own situation. This is probably why the fine of $1.25M is well below the $3M fine plus $250,000 of fees paid by Avis and Budget.
Once Again, Consent & An Unsubscribe Link Are Not Enough
This fine, once again, confirms that simply having the consent of recipients and including an unsubscribe link in one’s newsletters are not enough to be in good standing and to protect one’s self.
In fact, there are nearly a hundred risks that must be analyzed to ensure that a company complies with the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL). CASL amends certain articles of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and the Competition Act. Thus one has to take these laws into consideration when sending commercial electronic messages.
The Importance of a Compliance Program
Hertz and Thrifty, in their agreement with the Competition Tribunal and in addition to their fines, had to commit to implementing a compliance program under the supervision of the Competition Bureau.
There’s no doubt that, had they been proactive in the implementation of a compliance program before being found at fault, they would have avoided paying such hefty fines (plus all the legal costs associated with their case).
If your business is not yet under investigation, there’s still time to set up your compliance program and protect yourself before it’s too late.