Multiple criminal charges laid in online business directories case

News release

June 14, 2021 - GATINEAU, QC - Competition Bureau

A Competition Bureau investigation led to multiple criminal charges against Mr. Terry Croteau of Ontario alleging the use of deceptive telemarketing and false or misleading statements to get Canadian businesses to sign up for listings in online directories.

Mr. Croteau was charged under the deceptive marketing provisions of the Competition Act for making false or misleading statements to promote the business listings, including failure to disclose the price and terms and conditions applicable to the services. Mr. Croteau was also charged under the Criminal Code with fraud over $5,000 for soliciting businesses via telemarketing, mail and fax messages, and for uttering a forged document, namely a letter purporting to be from a collection agency.

The Bureau alleges that the offences occurred between 2012 and 2019.

The investigation benefitted from the work of the Toronto Strategic Partnership. The Partnership coordinates enforcement activities and information sharing regarding fraudulent, deceptive and misleading practices across multiple jurisdictions and includes law enforcement units such as the Toronto Police Service, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the United States Federal Trade Commission, and the Ontario Provincial Police.

Quotes

“Whether it is a business or a consumer who is the victim, fraud has devastating impacts. The Competition Bureau is determined to crack down on those who use deceptive marketing to cheat Canadians out of their hard-earned money.”

Matthew Boswell,
Commissioner of Competition

Quick facts

  • The Competition Act prohibits companies and individuals from making false or misleading claims to promote a product, service or business interest.

  • Directory scams commonly target businesses across Canada and around the world. Fraudsters use misleading tactics to pressure businesses to pay for directory listings of little or no value.

  • We encourage anyone who suspects deceptive or anti-competitive activities to file a complaint with the Bureau by using our online form.

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