Cable Company Publicly Shames, Lectures Overdue Customers On Facebook

from the punishment-in-the-public-square dept

Apparently bored by the traditional route of collection agencies and courtesy, one Canadian cable operator recently decided to try something different: it started posting the names and account balances of customers with overdue accounts on Facebook. After complaining that it “always get excuses from everybody,” Senga Services in Fort Simpson, Canada started posting the notices to all manner of local community Facebook pages. Not content with that, at least one of the company’s representatives thought it was a good idea to lecture locals on fiscal responsibility and living “within one’s means”:

Not too surprisingly, locals weren’t too impressed with the cable operator’s new bedside manner:

“Connor Gaule, an administrator of the popular Fort Simpson Bulletin Board page, took the post down immediately. “I thought that it was kind of illegal for her to be posting the people in arrears,” he said. “And there’s better ways to go about it. Especially on social media, where half the people on that list are elders that don’t have access to that.”

…Michelle Léger, a Fort Simpson resident studying in Fort Smith, said the post “just wasn’t right.” “If I had been a person on that list, I would have been really embarrassed,” she said. “It’s publicly shaming people. That’s kind of abusive to your customer base.”

Except, as we all know, the cable company doesn’t have to care about whether or not it’s abusing its customers, because usually it’s the only game in town. Senga responded by insisting that not only was the practice effective, it’s legal under Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act for companies to disclose personal information without consent — if “the disclosure of the information is necessary in order to collect a debt owed to the organization.”

Not true, says the Canadian government. A few days after the original story broke, the CBC asked the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada whether Senga’s behavior crossed the line, and the agency stated the law doesn’t say what Senga thought it did:

” In an email response, Tobi Cohen, a senior communications adviser at the office, told CBC that Senga Services had been contacted and “the company has complied with our request to take down the post.” Cohen wrote that the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act “allows organizations to use or disclose people’s personal information only for the purpose for which they gave consent.”

“There is also an over-arching clause that personal information may only be collected, used and disclosed for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate under the circumstances.” Cohen also wrote that were an individual to make a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the office “could look at investigating further.”

After a wrist slap from the Privacy Commissioner Senga has backed away from the practice, and returned to what cable companies historically do best: doing a piss poor job of providing an extremely expensive service.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: senga services

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Cable Company Publicly Shames, Lectures Overdue Customers On Facebook”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
22 Comments
Anonymoussays:

Re:

Yes, because companies never make a mistake, never falsely accuse customers, and definitely NEVER engage in deceptive billing practices.

Find me an honesty company first, then we can talk about it all being okay to publicly shame people that may not be paying as their own way to stick it back for getting screwed!

Mason Wheelersays:

The thing about public shaming is, it can work surprisingly well, if done right.

Several years ago, I was part of a certain online community based around a game no one plays anymore today. One of the guys posted one day that he had upgraded his video card and he wondered if anyone wanted the old one. It was better than what I had, and he was offering a good price for it, so I took him up on the offer and sent him some money over PayPal.

After a few weeks, he still hadn’t sent it. And he continued to not send it, and not send it, despite repeated reminders from me. You know, a bunch of “Oh yeah, I just have to get around to it,” etc.

After about two months, I decided enough is enough, and I posted about my frustration with his failure to deliver the merchandise that I had paid him the agreed-upon price for, on the community forum.

Within less than a week, the video card arrived at my place.

Anonymoussays:

i dont know if Senga is the ‘only game in town’ but if it isn’t, i would be in the throws of changing broadband supplier now!

as for all things Canadian, they are more expensive and people more ripped off than even in the USA.

i was with a relation in Canada getting a new mobile phone. the price for a sim card is $20, then you have to get a plan or time added to that. when i spoke to the seller at the time, he said that the Canadian government voted that the phone companies were NOT ripping people off by charging for sim cards nor were the contract/call/ txt/data prices overly high. i would like to know how much was paid to the politicians to get that vote passed!

i pay nothing for a sim card and usually have money already on it, from the provider, to get things up and running. on top of that, the prices i pay for using the various options would give both Canadian and USA providers multiple heart attacks!!

Anonymoussays:

Re:

I wonder how many of those people were shills hired by the company to praise what a great idea their brainstorm was. Senga had to know they’d take flak from the public for this, so I would not be surprised if they paid some people to see to it that the comments weren’t entirely bashing them, and started with people praising what a great idea they’d had.

BernardoVerdasays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actual, honest-to-deity, paid “shills” are generally superfluous — in most cases there’s a plentiful supply of “useful idiots” who will gladly do the job for free.

And of course, for some reason, these, ummmm… volunteers… somehow tend to have plenty of time for posting on random internet forums.

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it