Telus Agrees $7.34 Million Rebate Payout to Terminate 2012 Premium Texting Lawsuit

by Istvan Fekete on January 4, 2016

telusTelus has reached an agreement with the Competition Bureau related to its 2012 premium text services lawsuit, the Government of Canada has announced.

Canada’s second-largest wireless carrier has agreed to give up to $7.34 million worth of rebates to current and former customers who were wrongfully charged for receiving premium text messaging services between January 1, 2011 and August 16, 2013.

“Consumers expect and deserve truth in advertising. Allowing a third party to take advantage of consumers through misleading advertising is a violation of the Competition Act,” said Matthew Boswell Senior Deputy Commissioner of Competition. “We are pleased that Telus has taken steps to prevent this from happening again, as we continue our work to ensure that consumers benefit from accurate information in the digital economy.”

Under the terms of the agreement, eligible current customers will automatically receive a rebate, while eligible former customers can expect a notification from Telus detailing how to obtain their rebates and will have four months to make a claim.

In addition to the above, Telus has agreed to donate $250,000 to the Ryerson University Privacy and Big Data Institute; Éducaloi, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the public understand their rights and responsibilities under the law; and the Centre de recherche en droit public de l’Université de Montréal. The money will be used to fund research into consumer rights.

The agreement terminates a lawsuit against Telus initiated by the Bureau in 2012 which targeted the Big Three and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) for allowing third-party charges for premium text messaging services on customers’ wireless phone bills.

Rogers had already agreed to issue refunds of up to $5.2 million in March 2015, but Telus waited until the end of the year. Legal processes against Bell and the CWTA remain ongoing.

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