Negative option marketing occurs when a business provides a
consumer with goods or services (including an enhancement to a
service that the consumer is already receiving) that the consumer
did not ask for, and requires the consumer to pay for the goods or
services unless the consumer informs the business that he/she does
not want them. On September 15, 2010, amendments to Part XXI
(Negative Option Marketing) of The Consumer Protection Act
(Manitoba) the ("Act") came into force in Manitoba,
banning negative option marketing in that province and creating
specific remedies for aggrieved consumers affected by the practice.
Upon conviction, businesses failing to comply with the negative
option marketing legislation in Manitoba are subject to the greater
of a fine of not more than $300,000 or three times the amount
obtained as a result of negative option marketing, or to
imprisonment for a maximum of three years, or to both.
When the legislation came into force, insurers were not exempted
from the requirements found in Part XXI (Negative Option Marketing)
of the Act. However, the negative marketing option legislation has
recently been reviewed and amended in light of the fact that
The Insurance Act (Manitoba) offers protections for
consumers related to the renewal of insurance contracts, and
contains provisions that address unfair business practices. On June
19, 2013, the Manitoba Consumer Protection Office notified the
public that insurers and insurance agents licensed under The
Insurance Act (Manitoba) are exempt from Part XXI (Negative
Option Marketing) of the Act. However, as the insurance legislation
has a similar impact on negative option marketing tactics as does
the consumer protection legislation, the exemption has no real
significance for insurers. Other provinces that have similar
consumer protection legislation in place in connection with
negative option marketing, and do not currently exempt insurers
from such requirements, are likely to follow suit because the
change is expected to provide better clarity for both the insurance
industry and for consumers.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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