Federal Court Orders Bell to Pay $20,000 in Damages Over Privacy Violation

The Federal Court of Canada has ordered Bell TV to pay $20,000 in damages (plus an additional $1,000 in legal fees) for violating the privacy rights of a Nova Scotia satellite tv customer. The case arose when Bell TV surreptitiously obtained permission to run a credit check by including it as a term in its rental agreement without telling the customer. The customer asked for an apology and to remove the credit check from his record. Unsatisfied with the response, he filed a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (which issued a well-founded finding) and later an action at the federal court.

When Bell did not bother to respond, the federal court found that the company did not offer any compensation or implement the privacy commissioner’s recommendations. Accordingly, the court awarded $10,000 in damages and $10,000 in exemplary damages “for Bell’s conduct at the time of breach of the privacy rights and thereafter.”  The court added an additional $1,000 for disbursements and other costs.

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  1. Hmm… Are we noticing a pattern here?
    This is interesting… are we noticing a pattern of behavior here? It would seem that Bell has little regard for the privacy and welfare of their customers, what with their “relevant ads” privacy invasion scheme and now this.

    What’s wrong with this company? I truly believe the root problem is twofold:

    1) Not enough competition and too much protection of the telecommunications monopoly

    2) Lengthy contracts for service and “bundling” enticements lock people to a provider for a long period of time, during which they are subject to potential abuse (see comment above re: monitoring scheme)

  2. Shady History
    It’s not the first time that Bell has been in trouble with a regulatory agency, either. See their 1.6M fine from the CRTC for violating the DNCL (which they still continue to do). It looks like they’re just chalking this up as a cost of doing business.

  3. Paste Please says:

    Where is the Privacy Commissioners Finding
    I looked over the findings at, I see nothing in their findings that match this.

    Anyone have a link to the privacy commissioners findings that are referenced in Dr. Geists story? If so, please paste it.


  4. Devil's Advocate says:

    “See their 1.6M fine from the CRTC for violating the DNCL…”

    It’s not just strange that Bell seems to not care about such charges, but to add to the incomprehension of it all, Bell is the DNCL operator (a job granted them by the CRTC)!

    Bell easily tops the field in psychopathic behaviour.

  5. Really? Bell
    people still actually choose to do business with Bell? I can’t even remember the last time I had a Bell service…maybe 1993? If I still did business with Bell I’d be switching as fast as humanly possible after these latest privacy issues. I guess some people don’t care how they are treated.

  6. It’s not that people don’t care (well, some don’t) it’s just that this kind of horror stories don’t even make it to the nightly news reports. It’s not headline news and as such, is not important enough to keep audience’s attention. So I was told.

    Most are not even aware that this is happening to them.

    We need more information on what is happening and affecting our daily lives out there and soon.

    Micheal, maybe more than an article on a back page of a news paper needs to be published daily.

  7. @Trendtheme “What’s wrong with this company? I truly believe the root problem is twofold:”

    Don’t forget #3: Vertical integration

  8. The Lesson to be Learned Here Is….
    If you’re big enough, you are above the law.
    I was speaking with a COMSEC officer and he said Bell supplies the pipes for CSIS, CSEC, etc., so they’re practically immune to accountability.

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  10. Computer guru
    Try seeing any of this on CTV News (owned by Bell).

  11. What’s wrong with Bell? It’s a top heavy organization that tolerates mediocrity. The company culture basically consists of “it’s not my problem.” No one wants to take responsibility and the senior management has dis-empowered it’s rank and file to such a point that they are basically as indifferent to Bell’s success as Bell is to theirs.

    I would know, I work for them.