4 Charged in Canadian Telemarketing Scheme

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Canada's Competition Bureau said yesterday that it filed criminal charges against four people accused of involvement in deceptive telemarketing practices in Quebec.

The bureau said telemarketers contacted small and midsize businesses in Canada and the United States, claiming to be their regular suppliers of rolls of paper, ink cartridges and cleaning cards for use with electronic payment and credit card devices.

The callers claimed that an increase in the price of these supplies was imminent, according to the bureau, and they failed to disclose important information such as the price of the merchandise offered and the terms and conditions of returning it. The businesses subsequently received office supplies they would not have ordered had it not been for the false representations.

The bureau said $7.8 million in revenue was generated from January 2000 to February 2004. It received 619 complaints on matter.

Accused are: Neil Leventhal, Montreal; Pierre Richard, Candiac; Rick Aquino, Laval; and Matthew Grenia, Stanbridge Station. Also charged are the companies Merchant Supply International and International Merchant Supply.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that promotes and maintains fair competition.

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