Cable Company Uses Social Media to Shame Late Payers

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Imagine you're late paying the cable bill and are punished by having your name and delinquent balance posted on social media. What would you do?

Imagine you’re late paying the cable bill and are punished by having your name and delinquent balance posted on Facebook. What would you do?

That was a reality some customers faced last week, when CBC News reports Canadian cable company Senga Services first posted a list of overdue customers’ names and balance amounts on its Facebook page, and then on community pages on the social media network.

Jennifer Simons, who works for Senga — based in the Northwest Territories village of Fort Simpson — tells the CBC:

“We always got excuses from everybody. Promissory notes and everything, and it never arrives. So we found the most effective way is to publicly post the names.”

The move sparked outcry, however:

Connor Gaule, an administrator for the Fort Simpson Bulletin Board page, immediately removed Senga’s post from that Facebook page, telling the CBC:

“I thought that it was kind of illegal for her to be posting the people in arrears. And there’s better ways to go about it. Especially on social media, where half the people on that list are elders that don’t have access to that.”

Senga has also removed the post from its Facebook page since the outcry started. The CBC contacted the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in an attempt to determine if it were legal for Senga to post such customer information online.

Tobi Cohen, a spokesperson for the Canadian government agency, told the CBC that the country’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act “allows organizations to use or disclose people’s personal information only for the purpose for which they gave consent.”

Bruce Schneier, a security technologist and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, tells CBS MoneyWatch that social media is an “immense power” because the list of delinquent customers could show if someone searched online for one of those customers’ names.

For example, an employer could decide not to hire a job candidate after encountering his or her name on Senga’s list.

“The issue isn’t whether people are deadbeats and should pay. The issue is whether the punishment fits the crime. Now you’ll lose your career and your life because you didn’t pay your cable bill.”

Do you worry that other companies could adopt this public shaming tactic? How would you react if it happened to you? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Comcast Launching New Options for ‘Cord Cutters’

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,060 more deals!