Canal Plus fined for ‘forced sales’ to 430,000 customers

French pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus has been fined between €3m ($3.4m) and €5m for the ‘forced sale’ of a subscription offer to 430,000 customers.

The fine, which was levied by the judicial court of Nanterre, relates to an offer the broadcaster made in December 2017, allowing existing customers to access a CanalSat subscription for an extra €2 or €5 per month.

Canal Plus placed the onus on the subscriber to explicitly refuse the offer; if they did not, the fee would be charged and the CanalSat subscription opened. This is known as a ‘forced sale’.

The court said: “This commercial practice of placing customers in the obligation to refuse an offer so as not to have to pay the amount corresponding to it constitutes the offense of sale without prior order, which the company Canal Plus has recognised.”

It calculated the fine in proportion to the benefits Canal Plus drew from the practice.

Canal Plus’ revenues from television operations in France dipped in the first quarter of this year, but total revenue rose by 9.6 per cent to €1.37bn on the back of the acquisition of European pay-television distributor M7.