Ontario Court Certifies Class-Action Lawsuit Against Bell and Telus

Telus and Bell will face a class-action lawsuit for a practice that affected millions of Canadians: The carriers somehow “forgot” to bill their customers on a per-second basis (via The Star).

So, what happened exactly? Millions of Canadians were charged on a per-minute basis for years, which means a call of 1 minute and 1 second is rounded up to 2 minutes. The most interesting part of the story is that Bell and Telus used to bill customers on a per-second basis, but they changed their practices in mid-2002, without disclosing the changes, the lawsuit alleges.

Phone call

“Customers who purchased a fixed number of minutes for a set fee (e.g. 100 local minutes for $25) would deplete their talk time minutes much faster than represented, after which they would incur additional per-minute charges at a higher rate,” the press release notes.

The Ontario court has certified a class-action lawsuit against the two telcos on behalf of all Canadians who were affected by the practice between August 18, 2006 and October 1, 2009 for Bell customers, and between August 18, 2006 and July 1, 2010 for Telus customers.

“There is hope with this decision that mobile phone transactions will become more transparent,” Rochon said, adding that the fact that “punitive and aggregate damages have been certified sends a strong message to the major actors in the cellphone industry that this sort of conduct will not be tolerated.”

Lawyers of Rochon Genova LLP and the Merchant Law Group LLP said the certification of the suit is an important decision for everyday consumers. Were you affected by this practice?

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • JfromC

    SO uh I’ve been a Bell Mobility customer for years. How do I get my cut?

  • Hondanazi

    Last time I checked, when you buy something it’s yours, so ALL the telcos have been burning us by not giving us our “roll-over” minutes like they did in the USA! Paid for minutes shouldn’t have evaporated at the end of each month….we paid for them. I want my money back since 1987 when I got my first cell phone! I’ll be rich!!!!!!!!

  • SV650

    I wonder how many folks were actually affected (i.e. ran out of allotted minutes in a month)?

  • Sean

    Let’s hope this goes through. I’ve been a Telus customer for years.

  • SV650

    Similarly, if you don’t golf every day, or ski every day with the relevant passes, these too should roll over to next year? What about the ‘free’ kilometres you get with the car rental? We used to pay for the actual minutes we used, but people preferred to buy the insurance plan of so-many minutes per month, rather than have a variable bill. Some months you use a little, sometime a lot. It balances out for most folks.

  • Hondanazi

    Funny how the telcos in the USA like AT&T had roll over minutes and they didn’t go out of business like our “poor” telcos might (sarcasm)! Whenever I went over my allotted minutes on a month I was charged but when I was under I didn’t get a refund. So how does that “balance” out? I had to pay for minutes I hadn’t purchased up front. I didn’t have a membership for a golf course which is for the fair use of a facility over a given time period. That’s a poor comparison. Do you work for Robellus? It seems so.