Canada's antitrust regulator sues Cineplex over alleged misleading ticket prices

A Cineplex movie theatre sign looms over Yonge street in Toronto

(Reuters) -Canada's competition regulator said on Thursday it was suing Cineplex Inc for advertising movie tickets at a lower price than what many consumers actually have to pay.

"We're taking action against Cineplex because misleading tactics like drip pricing only serve to deceive and harm consumers," said Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell.

Competition Bureau Canada alleged that Cineplex was breaking the law by adding an additional fee that raises the price of its tickets purchased online, according to a statement from the regulator.

"We are disappointed by the statements made by the Competition Bureau today before the matter has been reviewed and decided upon by the Tribunal," Cineplex said in a statement in response to the regulator.

"Our online booking fee is not misleading and fully complies with the spirit and letter of the law."

The Canadian cinema chain said it would be seeking an early determination and expected the suit to be dismissed quickly as it had "no merit."

The bureau said Cineplex introduced the online booking fee in June 2022 and it has generated significant revenue for the company.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa and Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Jyoti Narayan; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Christopher Cushing)