Sears Canada Inc. was fined $487,000 (Canadian) for violating Canada's Competition Act when it exaggerated the possible savings to consumers during a 1999 tire sale.
Sears Canada, which in 2004 exited the automotive aftermarket business, ``vigorously contested'' the allegation. The country's Competition Tribunal ruled in January that Sears had breached the act by making ``false or misleading representations'' concerning the amount of savings available to consumers.
Sears was ordered to pay a $100,000 administrative monetary penalty plus $387,000 towards the Competition Bureau's legal costs. The mass merchandiser also is prohibited from engaging in similar representations for 10 years, according to a statement from the Competition Bureau.
The bureau is an enforcement agency that initiated the complaint in 2002, while the tribunal is a court that hears exclusively competition-related cases.
The Sears case stems from a 1999 tire sale in which the retailer advertised discounts of 45 percent, compared with the regular price. The tribunal said Sears had admitted it sold less than 2 percent of the tires at the full regular price before they were advertised on sale.