Manitoba Woman Sues Xplore for Bad Service and ‘Deceptive’ Practices

A former Xplore customer in Manitoba is suing the rural internet provider for allegedly offering unreliable service that doesn’t live up to advertised speeds — reports the CBC.

Xplore, known as Xplornet until a rebrand in September 2022, is an independent internet service provider (ISP) headquartered in Woodstock, New Brunswick, that operates fibre networks in rural parts of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

The plaintiff, identified only as “Darcie” by the publication, is seeking damages from Xplore for the “annoyance and inconvenience” she experienced as a customer and wants to have her complaint certified as a class action.

In her statement of claim, filed with the Court of King’s Bench on January 27, Darcie said she sunk more than $4,500 into services and products from Xplore that she either never received or that didn’t live up to the company’s claims.

According to Norman Rosenbaum and Jason J. Zushman, lawyers for the plaintiff, Xplore either knew or should have known that some of their marketing materials and packages claim to offer internet speeds that the company “could not provide” to all of its customers.

“Xplore manufactured, marketed, and distributed internet service packages and associated products and services in an unlawful, unfair and deceptive manner,” the lawyers wrote in the filing.

The lawsuit, which is yet to gain class-action certification, is seeking a variety of damages for both current and former customers (going all the way back to January 2003) for Xplore’s alleged “misrepresentations” of available internet speeds and services.

These damages include refunds for purchases of some satellite and traditional wireless packages, along with the associated fees and interest for any person or company who paid for services that didn’t live up to expectations.

Darcie and her lawyers further claimed that Xplore’s “onerous” cancellation policies make it unnecessarily hard for customers to cancel their subscriptions.

When Darcie wasn’t satisfied with the 25 LTE unlimited package she purchased from Xplore in June 2019 for $130/month, she repeatedly complained about the lower-than-advertised internet speeds and “lack of reliability” in both writing and over the phone, but ultimately decided to cancel the service.

Where most providers offer “button click”-style cancellation options on their websites, the statement of claim noted, Darcie was told that the only way to cancel an account with Xplore was by phone and that her previous written cancellation requests wouldn’t be accepted.

Even over the phone, she had to spend hours on cancellation attempts that were ultimately unsuccessful. According to her lawsuit, Xplore representatives suggested that other providers in Darcie’s area were unreliable and urged her to retain her Xplore services “as a backup.”

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