Judge Sides with Bell in $100 Million “Expiring Minutes” Case

by Istvan Fekete on April 2, 2015

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has sided with Bell in the $100 million class-action lawsuit involving more than a million customers over the expiration of prepaid cell phone minutes.

An update shared on the class action’s website, spotted by iPhone in Canada, reveals that the ruling was handed down at the end of January, but that Honourable Justice Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice made his decision public only in mid-February.

Here is what the Judge had to say about the case: “I therefore conclude that Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile intended and their subscribers understood that unused funds would expire and could be seized “after a specified period” meaning at the end of the active period. I conclude that Virgin Mobile intended and its subscribers understood that unused funds could be seized “after the expiry date” meaning at the end of the active period. In all three cases, at the time of contracting, the defendant intended and the subscribers understood that any unused credits would expire at the end of the active period (Day 30) and could be seized after that date (i.e. on Day 31.) This is precisely what the defendant told the plaintiff, a Virgin Mobile subscriber, in an email dated October 11, 2011:”

“Here at Virgin Mobile, we ask our customers to top up before 11:59 PM the evening before their expiry date. This is because the balance can expire at any point during the day of the expiry.”

The ruling favours Bell, the site informs, but Sotos LLP and Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP (“Class Counsel”) have filed a Notice of Appeal against his honour’s decision, claiming that the “Motion Judge made palpable and overriding error of facts and errors in principle in finding against the class on the contract issue.”

In particular, the judge made an error in finding that it was “not in dispute” that “at no time during the class period did class members receive anything less than the full period of wireless service which they had contracted to receive”, and that the judge erred when he found that the “defendant intended and the subscribers understood that the top-up agreement and any unused funds would expire at the end of the active period”, the notice of appeal reads. This is in stark contrast to Bell’s explicit communications about the expiry dates, they say.

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

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