Canada Competition Bureau

Canadian Carriers TELUS and Bell Face Lawsuits for Rounding up Minutes on Calls

November 29, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

Those naughty Canadian Telecoms, are in trouble again.  Canada’s second and third largest carriers, Bell and TELUS have a class action lawsuit brought against them for apparently rounding calls up to the next minute – for instance, a call that lasted 1-minute and 5-seconds would be billed for as a full 2-minute call.  Paying by the minute is the older way of billing subscribers, and most plans offer unlimited minutes, so we do not have to “count the seconds.’  However, each of these carriers still has a handful of plans that tally up the minutes you are talking on the phone.  The suit alleges on these plans, the calls used to be billed by the second, but back in mid-2002 they changed the practice to billing by the minute…and conveniently ‘forgot’ to tell the customers.

There are currently two law firms representing the plaintiffs that claim that millions of Canadians are victims of this type of billing.  Rochon Genova LLP said in a press release today that law firm names Avraham Wellman as the representative plaintiff – something required in a class action suit…they must list an actual individual in the suit and then the other plaintiffs can jump on board.  The suits have been certified and the Honorable Madam Justice Conway of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice stated that all of the plaintiffs would have been required to sign an agreement stating how many minutes they were purchasing each month, however, there was no disclosure about the practice of rounding up to the next minute. The certification runs for Canadian subscribers/residents who subscribed with Bell from August 18, 2006 through October 1, 2009 and Ontario residents who subscribed to TELUS services from August 18, 2006 until July 1, 2010.

This is just another instance of large corporations doing whatever they want…behind the walls of secrecy…and the attorney hope that this type of lawsuit will put them on notice to be more transparent in their future contracts and disclosures.  Joel Rochon, partner at Rochon Genova, said:

“This is an important decision for everyday consumers. They have a right not to be misled when entering a standard form contract. There is hope with this decision that mobile phone transactions will become more transparent. Justice Conway’s reasons reaffirmed one the foremost policy goals of the Class Proceedings Act, by providing access to justice to millions of cell phone users who were unwittingly charged excessive and unjustified fees in breach of the express terms of their contracts.”

Hopefully the attorneys will not take all of the procedures, but that the injured plaintiffs will see their fair share of it.  Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you are a part of the lawsuit…as always, we would love to hear from you.