Canadian carriers Telus and Bell are facing class action lawsuits over rounding-up voice minute billing

Canadian carriers Telus and Bell are facing class action lawsuits over rounding-up voice minute billing
By and large, mobile rate plans in many markets have gone the route of “unlimited” with the exception of data in some cases. There are some pre-paid plans among the larger carriers that count voice minutes in their plans, but they are few and far between.

Canada’s second and third largest carriers, Bell and Telus, still have a number of rate plans that tally the minutes. The current rates are not what anyone would call a bargain either, with 500 minute plans on the two carriers costing $50 (US $44) per-month.

At least the plans include unlimited SMS and MMS as part of the package, but if you were a customer in a market that could still command 10-cents per minute for mobile voice, you would be counting your minutes carefully, and probably scrutinizing your bill with just as much of a eagle-eye.

When these types of plans were more prevalent years ago, Bell and Telus would bill their customers on a per-second basis, an admirable practice indeed. However, a class action lawsuit filed in Ontario alleges that the carriers switched their billing practice in mid-2002 which rounded-up unused minutes from a phone-call.

Instead of being billed for a call that lasted a minute, ten seconds (1:10), the system would bill 2-minutes off the prevailing rate plan. The lawsuit has been filed to address an issue claimed to have “affected millions of Canadians” who were customers of Bell between August 2006 and October 2009, and Telus customers who were residents of Ontario between August 2006 and July 2010.

The suit alleges that customers were not informed of the practice that rounded-up per-minute billing. The eligible class in the lawsuit would be customers who signed service agreements with a purchased block of minutes between the aforementioned dates.

An attorney with the firm that filed the lawsuit says that customers have a “right not to be misled when entering a standard form contract.” He further indicated a hope to see mobile phone transactions become “more transparent.”

While there is certainly an upside to clarity in mobile service billing, we do not expect a windfall for anyone other than the lawyers in this case. If class-action suits in the great white north are anything like they are in the US, the legal teams will split a check while the class participants will get a coupon for day-old sushi at the local pizza shop.

source: MobileSyrup

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4 Comments

1. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

That's why we call our Canadian carriers Robellus!

2. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Verizon always did this when they used to charge for minutes.

3. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Canadian phone and Internet providers have an obscene amount of control over everything. Nobody has a chance to start up in Canada so these providers do what they want.

4. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

If you want a company that sets entry barriers, look no further than Microsoft and Apple. Any remotely resembling an operating system has to pay microsoft huge royalties. Including mobile and watch OS. The justice system shouldn't have made those patents transferable to mobile and smart watches. Only desktops. Apple sues for whatever bulls**t they want. While Nokia and Ericsson, and Samsung have to sign FRAND agreements for some reason. And then when Samsung finally gets Apple back at their own game, Obama vetos it. Now that is a huge entry barrier. You have to fight two tyrants and the U.S government just to make a decent smartphone. They need something in place similar to FRAND for the BS patents MS and Apple have. Or no one is coming near North America. Xiaomi already delayed their expansion because of this USA bs. Robellus are nothing compared to Apple.

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