Court Gives Green Light to Class-Action Lawsuit Against Bell Mobility

by Istvan Fekete on August 19, 2014

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice gave the green light on Monday to a class action lawsuit targeting Bell Mobility over the expiration of prepaid cell phone minutes, CBC reports.

It all started two years ago when Celia Sankar of Elliot Lake, Ontario, filed a lawsuit against Bell Mobility after the balance on her prepaid plan was “seized” by Bell twice in three years. Bell was served with a notice of a $100 million class action lawsuit in May 2012 alleging that expiry dates on its pre-paid wireless services were illegal.

As the lawsuit documents reveal, the suit claims prepaid plans are subject to Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act and should be treated, under the act, as gift cards without an expiry date. The class action lawsuit is being handled by the Toronto law firm of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP on behalf of Sankar.

She is the founder of the DiversityCanada Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting social justice, and she is one of the millions of Bell customers using the prepaid wireless service.

“Because the prepaid wireless service is the least expensive way to have a phone, and does not require a credit card or a bank account, it is often the only option for youth, new immigrants, workers on minimum wage, the unemployed, people on disability and seniors on fixed incomes,” Sankar said in a statement.

Affected customers are those with Bell, Virgin Mobile Canada, and Solo Mobile who had balances remaining in their accounts expiring between May 4, 2010 and December 16, 2013. The number of affected customers is more than 1 million. The plaintiffs are after $100 million in damages, which means nearly $100 for each affected customer.

Bell will likely fight for every cent, so if you are among the affected subscribers, don’t place your bets yet. When the carrier was served with the lawsuit two years ago, company spokeswoman Jacqueline Michelis said there was no merit to the suit and they would defend their position. Since then, Bell’s position has seemingly softened, as company spokesman Jason Laszlo said, “Bell Mobility always complies with the law”.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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