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Court slams Bell TV for ‘reprehensible’ violation of customer’s privacy rights

BCE CEO George Cope attends the company's AGM in Toronto on Thursday May 9, 2013.

Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Federal Court of Canada has awarded a Nova Scotia man $21,000 in damages after a judge ruled Bell TV had violated his privacy rights by checking his credit history without his permission.

In a decision released this week, Judge Michael Phelan said Bell TV's conduct was "reprehensible."

The judgment says that when Rabi Chitrakar of Beechville, N.S., ordered satellite TV service on Dec. 1, 2010, Bell conducted an unauthorized credit check that hurt his credit score.

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The ruling says that when the service was installed almost a month later, Bell placed an electronic copy of Chitrakar's signature on a rental agreement that authorized the check after the fact.

And when Chitrakar called Bell to complain about what happened, the court says he received a "royal runaround."

Phelan's judgment says that not only did Bell violate Chitrakar's rights, the company failed to show up in court and has shown no interest in offering compensation.

Neither Chitrakar nor a representative from Bell could be reached for comment.

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