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Montreal Telemarketer Agrees to Fine

A Canadian telemarketing firm agreed to pay a fine of about $197,000 U.S. to settle charges that it ran a misleading campaign enticing consumers with a free-prize offer, the Canadian Competition Bureau said this week.

Montreal-based Farber Blake Corp. called consumers in Canada and New Zealand to tell them they had won prizes including cash, a boat or a Bahamas cruise, according to the bureau. But to claim the prize, consumers had to buy a promotional item such as coin sets or art, the bureau charged.

Furthermore, the bureau claimed Farber Blake sold the items at inflated prices and failed to inform consumers of their true value, the bureau said. Exact prices paid by consumers were not disclosed.

Farber Blake was one of four Montreal telemarketing firms charged by the competition bureau with violating Canadian laws against misleading advertising in June 2001. The other firms — S.D. Prestige Enterprises, L.A. Premiums and J.C.&A. — also were accused of offering prizes to consumers on the condition that they buy overpriced promotional items.

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