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Competition Bureau sues Cineplex for false advertising

The Competition Bureau has announced it is taking legal action against theatre chain Cineplex for advertising movie tickets at a lower price than what many consumers are required to pay. The bureau alleges that Cineplex is breaking the law by adding an additional fee that raises the price of its tickets purchased online.

According to the bureau, its investigation found that many consumers cannot buy tickets on Cineplex's website or mobile application at advertised prices because a mandatory $1.50 online booking fee is added to the price. The bureau describes this fee is an example of misleading drip pricing, a business practice recognized as harmful by recent amendments to the Competition Act. Under these amendments, drip pricing is considered to be false or misleading advertising.

The bureau has filed an application with the Competition Tribunal seeking for Cineplex to stop this practice, pay a penalty and provide restitution to affected consumers.

“Consumers expect to pay the advertised price,” said Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition. “We're taking action against Cineplex because misleading tactics like drip pricing only serve to deceive and harm consumers. For years, we have urged businesses, including ticket vendors, to display the full price of their products upfront. I remind all businesses to review their pricing claims to make sure they do not mislead consumers.”

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