Update – December 2, 2013: Class Action Launched Against Bell Mobility and Telus for Unlawful Billing Practices
A proposed class action against Bell Mobility is scheduled for certification hearings between April 28 and April 30, 2014. Rochon Genova has brought actions against both Bell Mobility and Telus, claiming that both telecommunications providers breached its contracts with consumers surrounding the fundamental issue of “talk time” and in this regard, engaged in deceptive business practices.
The actions have been brought on behalf of consumers who had a monthly plan or pre-paid plan with Bell Mobility or Telus between July 30, 2005 and September 1, 2010. The Bell Mobility action includes all residents of Canada, while the Telus action includes residents of Ontario, British Columbia or Québec.
The lawsuits claim that Telus and Bell Mobility collected a massive windfall of billions of dollars at consumers’ expense, by “rounding up” consumers’ airtime to the farthest minute, instead of charging for the amount of airtime actually used. For example, when a consumer makes a call for one minute and one second, they would be charged for two minutes. This practice was never disclosed to the consumer when they entered into the contract or at any other time.
Consumers were charged for airtime that should have been included within the time specified in their monthly plan, and consumers that purchased pre-paid minutes did not receive the full number of minutes they bargained for and were forced to buy additional time. The “rounding up” scheme also meant that consumers had to pay more roaming and long distance charges than they had agreed to in their contracts, and many had to buy more expensive talk time packages as a result of “rounding up”. Telus and Bell Mobility kept this deceptive practice secret and did not make disclosure until sometime after September 1, 2010.
Both the Bell Mobility action (Corless v. Bell Mobility CV-08-00360837-CP00) and the Telus action (Wellman v. Telus Corporation et al. CV-08-00360838-CP00) are framed in breach of contract and as violations of theConsumer Protection Act. The actions were commenced in August 2008 and are currently being case managed by Madam Justice Conway of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.