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Choose a recent news/media article that has been published within the last 3 months that concerns a business ethics issue/s and disucss about it.

Summary of the article

The essay will focus on an ethical issue facing Bell and Rogers company managers after the revelation from their former employees on how the manager for these companies have been using the sales person to force the customers to pay more. Any sales person who reveal the secret could get fired.

The actions by the two companies are unethical. The managers are displaying egoistic behaviors whereby they want others to suffer in order to obtain profits. Utilitarian theory is against such behaviors because the theory believes that an action is ethical if its consequences benefits more parties. On the other hand, the actions taken by former employees are ethical. They acted in accordance with the sales ethics.

The article selected for this paper is entitled, “Former Bell and Rogers employees reveal sales secrets submitted to public inquiry”. The article was authored by Erica Johnson and posted on CBC news on Aug 23, 2018. The article focuses on one of the ethical issues facing the sales person. In particular, the article describes the sales practices in the telecom industry as revealed by the former telco employees (Johnson, 2018). This came after more than 200 current and former telecom workers contacted Go Public to raise their concern of the pressure to upsell. One of the former employee, Idris Al, admitted how they could unknowingly lie to customers. The manager, according to Idris, didn't explain that what he believed was a free 30-day trial for something called "Fibe Alt TV" was only free if the customer ended up keeping the service (Johnson, 2018). This means that unsuspecting customers who subscribe to the Fibe Alt TV for the 30-day trial and wish to cancel would get charged. To make matters worst, attempt for employees to help the customers avoid such lead to the firing of the responsible employees. Idris, for example, threatened that he will be fired if he ever mention again that it's OK for customers to cancel their account in order to avoid unplanned charges. The work environment at Telco, according to Idris became so "toxic,". On the other hand, senior manager gives a different information altogether. Our representatives are trained to make clear ... that a credit of $14.95 would be applied to a customer's next monthly bill if they sign up for Alt TV (Johnson, 2018).


In the same article, another employee for another company called Rogers revealed how the company has been forcing them to sell the most expensive plan even if the product value does not worth the plan. Store manager would tell them to sell something more expensive so that they can make a lot of money. The principle underlying manager’s idea was that Pay as You Go' wasn't very profitable and didn't contribute to our sales targets. In fact, the manager took Pay as You Go pamphlets off the counter and hid them out of view (Johnson, 2018). To make the matters worse, the company could fire those who do not adhere to what the company wanted them to do. Taxali, for example, was fired after two months "for not getting the results they wanted." Although the manager disagrees with what Taxali said, the customers also have the same view that they are being compelled to go upsell (Johnson, 2018). The two cases clearly show that managers forced the sales person to use unjustified means to make profits and if the sales person do not go as they want, they are fired. The same manager would go to press and distance themselves from the allegation. However, given that the customers have the same views as the sales person, it can be deduced that indeed managers are forcing the sales person to charge customers more and force them to subscribe to the expensive plans so that the company can make a lot of profits (Johnson, 2018).

Ethical Issues/ concern

The ethical issues related to the case is corporate social responsibility. Within the framework of corporate social responsibility, the company is the subject of responsibility as a social community, where the owners cooperate with managers, personnel, suppliers, consumers, representatives of the public, and social responsibility are the result of their joint actions (Kavanagh, 2008, p. 7). In other words, a company is a socio-economic system in which the goals and functions of society must be reproduced by the internal environment, its structural elements in close interconnection, be associated with the interests of the whole society (Zhang, Lijun, Jun and Wen 2014). From the case, it is apparent that the two managers from the two companies are focusing on their economic interest at the expense of employees, consumers, representatives of the public (Podgers, 2015, p.1) 

I believe that the managers for the two companies did not take appropriate ethical decision. The two managers opted to obtain more profits by deceiving their potential customers through their sales representative. By applying utilitarian principle, the actions taken by managers is not acceptable. In fact, the two companies will develop bad reputation and the sales volume will eventually decrease significantly. Firing their sales representatives is even the worst decision. This is because the public will start to boycott the company and the company may collapse eventually (Chandler, 2015).

However, I believe that the two-sales representative fired took the appropriate ethical decision. The sales representative acted ethically by refusing to deceive clients. Ethically, one of the main responsibilities of the salespeople of a company is to be responsible, honest and have certain ethical principles that govern their daily life, in this way they will be able to stand out before their real and potential clients (Sontag, 2007, p.177). A seller always has to be honest with the resources and benefits of their product or service, because otherwise the consumer at the moment of truth will realize that the offer is not real and that he was deceived, but the most shocking is that you will feel a lack of ethics and professionalism on the part of the seller and the company, remembering that a dissatisfied customer collapses the image of the company and it begins to lose credibility in the market (Stout, 2012). The two sellers presented in the case are honest.

Sellers are also expected to be transparent and that the two sellers were transparent. It is of vital importance for the long-term relationships between the product and the client, that they are transparently and clearly all kinds of business they have (Pettijohn, Keith, & Burnett, 2011). The client expects the seller to provide a product that meets their needs and that corresponds exactly to the business that has been proposed, without having to be surprised by something that the business did not expect, such as higher payment rates of what is due, that the product does not fulfill what it promises to do (Hibbard & Hibbard, 2012). When one of these situations happens, the client feels cheated, outraged in his good faith and as a company he may win a business, but he has definitely lost a client, who will surely speak ill of his colleagues in the company (Mossaz & Coghlan, 2017, p.991). The two sellers are transparent because when they notice the problem, they started informing the customers what they can do.

My Opinion


Sales representative also acted ethically by not accepting the orders from the managers to misrepresent the condition or usefulness of what they were selling. This is a big challenge faced by sales representative. Working in sales requires a lot of personal judgment from a company representative (Huang, Huang & Dubinsky, 2014, p. 15). By its nature, work depends a lot on social relations and persuasion. Sellers regularly work on commission, that is, if they do not make the sale, they lose cash. In the wrong hands, these elements can lead to unethical behavior, causing undue pressure on customers or suppliers (Tschopp and Ronald 2015, p.565). The sales representative should only try to sell products and services that he believes are worthwhile and that benefit the client. The case shows that the two sales representative for the two companies did their best not to misrepresent and even though they violated the manager’s orders, they acted ethically.

Another justification that shows that the sales representative acted ethically is that they did their best to communicate real information about the product or service (Thorton and John 2013, p. 42). It should be noted that the line between persuasion and dishonesty can be very fine in sales, and the seller should be careful not to cross it. This is exactly what the two sales representatives did.

I applied the utilitarianism principle in making the decision. This principle postulates that the best action is one that bring more positive outcomes. The principle expects the decision maker to judge and evaluate the consequences of possible options or alternatives and then choose an alternative with better possible consequences (Mitcham & Snieder, 2014, p. 137). Firstly, it is undisputable that the two-sales representative faced ethical dilemma in choosing whether to follow what the managers expected them to do or to do what is right for them. The two sales representatives had two options. The first option was to deceive clients to pay more for the products and the second option was to tell the customers the truth. Each option had different consequences.

If the two sales representatives opted for option 1, the consequences would have been favorable to them but unfavorable to the customers. One of the consequences is that they could be assured of employment. The other consequence is that they could get more commission. However, the third, unfavorable consequences is that the customers would be forced to pay more than the real value. This consequence could have resulted in other consequences. For example, customers would start developing bad image towards the company and in the long run, the company would lose her customers and even collapse.

If the two-sales representative opted for option 2, the consequences would be unfavorable to them but favorable to customers. As indicated, since they opted for this option, they were fired for violating what their managers wanted. However, although they were fired, their action saves the many customers from being forced to pay more money than expected.

For the managers, their actions are unethical. The two managers decided that it was best for them to make profits by deceiving their potential customers through their sales representative. By applying utilitarian principle, the actions taken by managers is not acceptable. In fact, the two companies will develop bad reputation and the sales volume will eventually decrease significantly.

List of References

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Chandler, D. (2015) Corporate social responsibility: A strategic perspective. New York: Business Expert Press.

Hibbard, D., & Hibbard, M. (2012) SOAR Selling. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing.

Huang, W, Huang, C, & Dubinsky, A (2014) The Impact of Guanxi on Ethical Perceptions: The Case of Taiwanese Salespeople. Journal Of Business-To-Business Marketing, 21(1), pp. 1-17, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, [Accessed14th September, 2018].

Johnson, E (2018). Former Bell and Rogers employees reveal sales secrets submitted to public inquiry. CBC News. Available from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/telecom-employees-submit-complaints-to-crtc-inquiry-1.4794953 [Accessed14th September, 2018].

Kavanagh, S (2008) Compliance and Ethics for Sales and Marketing Employees. Federal Ethics Report, 15 (7), pp. 6-8, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, [Accessed14th September, 2018].

Mitcham, C, & Snieder, R (2014) Science for Sale: Improve Ethics Education, Science, 343 (6167), p. 137, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, [Accessed14th September, 2018].

Mossaz, A, & Coghlan, A (2017) The role of travel agents’ ethical concerns when brokering information in the marketing and sale of sustainable tourism. Journal Of Sustainable Tourism, 25 (7), pp. 989-1006, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, [Accessed14th September, 2018].

Pettijohn, C, Keith, N, & Burnett, M (2011) 'Managerial and Peer Influence on Ethical Behavioral Intentions in a Personal Selling Context.  Journal Of Promotion Management, 17(2), pp. 133-147, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, [Accessed14th September, 2018].

Podgers, J (2015) Ethics opinion: It's OK to 'practice' after selling a law practice to assist in the transition', ABA Journal, p. 1, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, [Accessed14th September, 2018].

Sontag, DN (2007) What is Wrong with “Ethics for Sale”? An Analysis of the Many Issues that Complicate the Debate about Conflicts of Interests in Bioethics. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 35(1), pp. 175-186, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, [Accessed14th September, 2018].

Stout, L (2012) The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public. Berrett Koehler Publishers.

Thorton, J and John B (2013) Social Responsibility and the Small Business. Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal, 19(1), pp.41-43.

Tschopp, D, and Ronald H (2015) Comparing the Evolution of CSR Reporting to that of Financial Reporting. Journal of Business Ethics, 127(3), pp.565-567

Zhang, M, Lijun M, Jun S, and Wen Z (2014) Do Suppliers Applaud Corporate Social Performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 121(4), pp. 543-555

Cite This Work

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My Assignment Help. (2019). Ethical Issues In Sales Practices: A Case Study Of Bell And Rogers. Retrieved from https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/ethical-issues-faced-by-bell-and-rogers-company.

"Ethical Issues In Sales Practices: A Case Study Of Bell And Rogers." My Assignment Help, 2019, https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/ethical-issues-faced-by-bell-and-rogers-company.

My Assignment Help (2019) Ethical Issues In Sales Practices: A Case Study Of Bell And Rogers [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/ethical-issues-faced-by-bell-and-rogers-company
[Accessed 21 July 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Ethical Issues In Sales Practices: A Case Study Of Bell And Rogers' (My Assignment Help, 2019) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/ethical-issues-faced-by-bell-and-rogers-company> accessed 21 July 2024.

My Assignment Help. Ethical Issues In Sales Practices: A Case Study Of Bell And Rogers [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2019 [cited 21 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/ethical-issues-faced-by-bell-and-rogers-company.

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