TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - A class action against Bell Mobility Inc.
("Bell") alleging that the expiry dates on its pre-paid wireless
services are illegal was certified by the Ontario Superior Court of
The lawsuit, which includes more than 1 million class members in
Ontario, alleges that Bell systemically breaches its contracts with its
pre-paid wireless customers by seizing credit balances. In particular, the lawsuit alleges that pre-paid wireless services
payments are "gift cards", as defined by Ontario's Consumer Protection Act, and cannot have an expiry date. The plaintiffs are seeking $100 million
in damages from Bell.
The allegations in the lawsuit have not yet been proven in court.
The representative plaintiff, Celia Sankar, lives in Elliot Lake,
Ontario, and is founder of the DiversityCanada Foundation, a
not-for-profit organization. Ms. Sankar is a Bell pre-paid wireless
customer who had her credit balance seized twice, in September 2011 and
February 2012. Ms. Sankar will represent anyone in Ontario who
purchased or otherwise acquired pre-paid wireless services under the
brands Bell Mobility, Virgin Mobile Canada and Solo Mobile since May 4,
The law firms of Sotos LLP and Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP represent Ms.
Sankar and the other members of the class.
"This decision is a victory for the vulnerable consumers who use
pre-paid wireless services," said Sankar. "These services are popular
with many persons of limited means. It's tremendously important that
they have access to the court through a class action proceeding to have
their claims fairly tried."
Lead counsel, Louis Sokolov of Sotos LLP, noted that class counsel are
currently investigating similar claims against other wireless companies
and added that, in the absence of a class action, the claims of
individual customers would remain unresolved.
"No one would ever bring their own lawsuit for the $20 or $30 that
wireless companies take from their customers when their balances
expire," said Sokolov. "That it is why it is so important that consumer
cases like this be certified and corporations like Bell be required to
answer the allegations."
Co-counsel Christine Davies and Nadine Blum observed this is the first
case to consider the "gift card" provisions of Ontario's Consumer Protection Act.
"The gift card law was intended to protect consumers from losing cash
equivalents. Class members pre-paid money into their accounts so that
they would have funds available to purchase services and products from
Bell on an ongoing basis. If successful at trial, this case will ensure
that consumers' pre-paid amounts are protected."
SOURCE: Sotos LLP
For further information:
Louis Sokolov: 416-875-8715/Christine Davies: 416-979-4055/Celia Sankar: 705-848-6194