The Competition Bureau is suing Cineplex for allegedly advertising misleading ticket prices, the agency said Thursday.
The Bureau alleged in a press release that Cineplex is breaking the law by adding additional fees that increase the price of tickets purchased online.
It states that an investigation found that consumers cannot purchase tickets online at the advertised prices because there is a mandatory $1.50 fee for online booking.
The Bureau says this is an example of partial pricing, also known as “ junk fee “.
The Bureau noted that amendments to the Competition Act passed last June “explicitly recognize that partial pricing involving the addition of mandatory fees is a harmful business practice.”
It is clarified that any additional fixed fees or charges are false or misleading under the law, unless imposed by the government, such as sales tax.
Cineplex announced online booking fees last June. The company said members of Scene Plus rewards would pay a reduced fee of $1 per ticket purchased online, while members of CineClub, the company’s monthly subscription program, would pay no fee.
The company said at the time that it was looking to “invest more and evolve its digital infrastructure”, including upgrading its website.
The Bureau alleged that Cineplex has generated significant revenue from fees since its introduction. He said he filed an application with the Competition Tribunal asking Cineplex to end what he calls misleading advertising, pay a penalty and “compensate harmed consumers.”
“Consumers expect to pay the advertised price. We are taking legal action against Cineplex because deceptive tactics like partial pricing mislead and harm consumers,” Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell said in the press release.
“For years, we have urged businesses, including ticket sellers, to display the full price of their products up front. I remind all companies that they need to review their pricing indications to ensure that they are not misleading consumers”.
Cineplex did not immediately respond to a request for comment.