Court Certifies $100M Class Action Lawsuit vs Bell Over Expiring Pre-Paid Balances

Law firms Sotos LLP and Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP have announced the Ontario Superior Court of Justice today has certified a $100 million class action lawsuit against Bell Mobility over allegations expiry dates on pre-paid services are illegal.

The lawsuit, which has over 1 million class members in Ontario, alleges the seizing of pre-paid credit balances is a breach of contract, as the lawsuit deems pre-paid wireless services the same as “gift cards”, as defined by Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, thusly cannot have an expiry date.

The representative plaintiff, Celia Sankar, lives in Elliot Lake, Ontario, and is founder of the DiversityCanada Foundation, a not-for-profit organization. Ms. Sankar is a Bell pre-paid wireless customer who had her credit balance seized twice, in September 2011 and February 2012. Ms. Sankar will represent anyone in Ontario who purchased or otherwise acquired pre-paid wireless services under the brands Bell Mobility, Virgin Mobile Canada and Solo Mobile since May 4, 2010.

Co-counsel Christine Davies commented:

“The gift card law was intended to protect consumers from losing cash equivalents. Class members pre-paid money into their accounts so that they would have funds available to purchase services and products from Bell on an ongoing basis. If successful at trial, this case will ensure that consumers’ pre-paid amounts are protected.”

The lawsuit was first filed back in May of last year and affects customers from Bell Mobility along with brands Virgin Mobile Canada and Solo Mobile from May 4, 2010 onwards. At the time, Bell Mobility’s Jacqueline Michelis said “We’ll certainly defend against it,” as the company believes there is no merit to the case.

Do you know anyone part of this class action lawsuit?