Class action on overcharging of interest on student loans - One third of former students eligible for a government refund still have not claimed their due



    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A new victory : Superior Court orders the government to reimburse
    15,000 former students previously excluded
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    MONTREAL, Feb. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Last June, the law firm of Sternthal
Katznelson Montigny l.l.p. (SKM) announced their $30 million class action
victory against the Quebec department of Education, Leisure and Sport
concerning interest overcharges by the government on student loans. The
announcement followed a ruling by The Supreme Court of Canada that some 80,000
former CEGEP and university students in the province who had contracted their
loans prior to April 30, 1998 were due financial redress for the overcharges.
    Today, eight months after the start of the reimbursement process (which
is scheduled to end on June 1, 2009), approximately one half of the eligible
students have received their refund from the government. The average refund
was $500, and the highest one to date was $6,200.
    Many of the 40,000 former students who have not yet claimed their refund
probably don't realize how significant these payments can be," said Guy
St-Germain, a partner of SKM that won the class action. "Moreover, the refund
process is extremely simple; probably the simplest of any class action I've
ever seen."
    All that eligible candidates are requested to do is to log on to the
refunds Web site at www.afe.gouv.qc.ca. No document or written proof is
necessary. The amount of an individual's refund is automatically computed and,
if the amount is accepted by the former student, a cheque is usually issued in
less than a week. Candidates have until June 1, 2009 to make a claim.

    Victory for 15,000 former students previously excluded by the government

    Last summer, shortly after the reimbursement process got under way, SKM
attorneys received many calls from former students complaining that the
government refused to issue refunds to them because they had resumed their
studies after April 30, 1998.
    SKM presented a Motion in the Fall of 2008, seeking redress for these
students. On January 27, the Quebec Superior Court ruled in their favour, and
ordered the government to reimburse these students as well. To date, there are
no statistics on the proportion of students in this group of 15,000 who have
applied for their refunds.
    "Our estimate is that one third of the 80,000 ex-students who can benefit
from the class action victory have not yet made a claim," Mr. St-Germain said.
    As well, the government does not have the current address of some 5,000
eligible former students and has no intention of undertaking any measures to
ensure that this group receives notice of their eligibility.
    SKM has asked the government for the 5,000 undelivered notices so that
the law firm may itself initiate a search for these former sudents. The firm
is still awaiting a reply.
    In addition to the government's Internet address, www.afe.gouv.qc.ca, and
SKM's URL, www.skm.ca, a group has been created on Facebook : Recours
collectif - Prêts étudiants/Student Loan Class Action (Quebec), where members
can follow events in the case. The Quebec government may also be reached by a
(toll free) telephone number at 1-866-584-3979.
    Interested parties may reach Sternthal Katznelson Montigny toll free at
1-877-878-9040, or by E-mail at recourscollectif@skm.ca.

    About Sternthal Katznelson Montigny

    Founded in 1976, Sternthal Katznelson Montigny is a 10-member firm
composed of partners and associates with a wide range of expertise in
corporate, commercial and civil matters. The firm's lawyers have extensive
litigation experience before all branches of the Quebec judicial system, the
Federal Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Torchia Communications: Johanne Lépine, (514)
288-8290, extension 234, jlepine@torchiacom.com; Julie Tremblay, (514)
288-8290, extension 214, julie@torchiacom.com

Organization Profile

STERNTHAL KATZNELSON MONTIGNY

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890