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A Cable Company Shamed Customers with Overdue Bills by Posting Their Names on Facebook

The company argues it is both legal and an effective strategy in collecting unpaid money.

by Jake Kivanc
Dec 2 2015, 10:15pm

Cable's out. Photo via Flickr user Clive Darra

A cable company out of Fort Simpson, in Canada's Northwest Territories, is facing heat after it posted a list of subscribers who had not paid overdue bills on its Facebook page on Monday.

Senga Service Cable Company posted the list of 25 bills on Facebook, which includes both single individuals and sometime two names bundled together, along with the amount owed for each account also listed on the page.

The post also notes that the accounts listed were to be disconnected Wednesday, with some bills on the list amounting to as little as $94, all the way up to a high of $1406.

Jennifer Simmons, a spokesperson for the company, told CBC News that "excuses" from non-paying customers is what prompted the company to out the owing accounts.

"We always got excuses from everybody," Simons said. "Promissory notes and everything, and it never arrives. So we found the most effective way is to publicly post the names."

Although the posts have been removed, screenshots obtained by CBC show some of Simmons' posts on other pages in the town. In one, she challenges the notion that what Senga Service did was unethical.

"Well then maybe it's a lesson to not live outside your means," [all sic] she appears to have wrote.

"People who can't afford services shouldn't get them. Period."

Screenshot via Facebook

One of the outed people on the page was former MLA Kevin Menicoche, who said that he called the company after seeing the post featuring his name.

"I did speak with them," he told CBC News. "I said: 'I'm not embarrassed, but it would be nice if you had contacted me individually.' They thought that was one of the options available to them, but there's got to be an issue of confidentiality."

According to Simmons, however, there is no issue. After consulting lawyers, CBC says, she came to the conclusion that, as long as you don't publish someone's personal information, such as SIN, phone number, or address, posting their name and amount owed to shame them into submission is fair game.

Let's hope credit card companies don't follow suit.

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