One Canadian cable company decided that it would be a good idea to start publicly shaming their customers who did not pay their monthly bill on time. Customers of Senga Services who did not pay their bills by their due date were being called out on the company’s Facebook page for everyone to see. Needless to say, this caused outrage from many customers, who had expected that their personal dealings with the company would have been kept private.
Senga Services did not offer their customers much leeway, as some of the overdue payments amounted to just a mere $94 Canadian Dollars (slightly over $70 USD). Some company employees, such as Jennifer Simons, defended their right to publicly shame the unfortunate customers. This has led to a major internet debate on the associated Facebook page.
Simmons wrote, “People who can't afford services shouldn't get them. Period.”
While customers were extremely upset, Simons said that this method of shaming proved quite effective in getting customers to cough up their overdue payments. The company has said that the Facebook shaming technique was a method of last resort, and it was only used after traditional methods of extracting a payment had failed to produce any results.
According to Simons, the practice of exposing a customer’s name and their payment amount is not illegal. Simons even contacted personal lawyers to make sure the policy was within legal grounds. Still, there’s no denying the fact that most people would say that the technique is highly unethical.
However, the practice was short-lived, as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada demanded that the posts calling out such tardy customers be taken down. Senga Services then obliged and removed all of the offending posts. Despite the fact that the posts have been removed, the Privacy Commissioner is still considering investigating the issue in greater detail.
At the present time, no charges have been filed, and no comments have been issued by the Privacy Commissioner.