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Telus and Bell facing lawsuits for rounding up customer voice minutes
Canadian service providers Telus and Bell are facing class-action lawsuits for rounding up customers’ voice minutes to the furthest minute.
Two lawyers that represent the plaintiffs explain that potentially millions of customers have been affected by the mishap. So, what exactly did the two companies do? Well, here’s the problem. Both companies used to charge by a per-second basis, meaning if you only spoke on the phone for 61 seconds, that’s what you’ll get charged for. However, in mid-2002, both companies switched their plans over to a per-minute basis, without notifying the public. So if you’re talking on the phone for 61 seconds, you’ll then get charged for two minutes.
The lawsuits have been certified on behalf of Canadian residents who were billed by the minute and subscribed to Bell from August 18th, 2006 to October 1st, 2009, and Ontario residents subscribed to TELUS from August 18th, 2006 to July 1st, 2010. No amounts being sought have been disclosed by either law firm yet.
Joel Rochon, partner at Rochon Genova (Toronto-based law firm), explains:
There is hope with this decision that mobile phone transactions will become more transparent… punitive and aggregate damages have been certified sends a strong message to the major actors in the cellphone industry that this sort of conduct will not be tolerated.
Now, none of these allegations have been proven in court, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of substance to them. There’s obviously a problem here that has potentially affected millions of subscribers, and we’ll have to see what comes of these lawsuits, if anything.