Skip to main content

Report On Business Bell, Telus face class actions over rounding up calls to next minute

A Telus store on Queen St. East in Toronto's Beaches neighbourhood is shown on March 5, 2014.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

An Ontario court has certified class action lawsuits against Telus (TSX:T) and Bell (TSX:BCE) over the practice of rounding up calls to the next full minute.

Lawyers for two firms representing the plaintiffs say millions of Canadian were affected by the practice in which, for example, a call that lasts one minute and one second is rounded off to two minutes for billing purposes.

While Bell and Telus had previously billed customers on a per-second basis, in mid-2002 they changed their practices so that customers were billed on a per-minute basis, with calls being rounded up to the farthest minute, the suit alleges.

Story continues below advertisement

This change was not disclosed by either telecom until the end of the class periods, lawyers for Rochon Genova LLP and the Merchant Law Group LLP said in a release issued Thursday.

The class actions were certified on behalf of Canadian residents who subscribed to Bell services and were billed by the minute between Aug. 18, 2006, and Oct. 1, 2009, and Ontario residents who subscribed to Telus services and were billed by the minute between Aug. 18, 2006, and July 1, 2010.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

However, Joel Rochon, partner at Rochon Genova, called certification of the suits "an important decision for everyday consumers."

"There is hope with this decision that mobile phone transactions will become more transparent," Rochon said, adding that the fact that "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."

Amounts being sought were not specified in the release issued by the two firms.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Unchecking box will stop auto data updates
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter