Yak calls recent TELUS fee illegal; Calls on CRTC to remove it



    Application filed to protect Canadians against consumer gouging

    TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - Yak Communications (Canada) Corp., a subsidiary
of Globalive Communications Corp., today announced that it has filed
applications with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications
Commission (the "CRTC") seeking to remove a long distance "access fee"
recently introduced by TELUS. Among the remedies Yak is seeking, Yak has
applied for an order that consumers who have already paid this new fee be
reimbursed by TELUS.
    The fee, which was introduced by TELUS in late November, is an extra
charge of $2.95 per month for home phone users on TELUS' basic toll service
(i.e., TELUS subscribers not on a long distance plan). Unfortunately, TELUS'
communication to its subscribers has been unclear and there has been consumer
confusion on who the charge applies to.
    "Our phones have been ringing off the hook with customers who are angry
and confused about this new fee," said Andrew Boone, Yak's Vice President of
Marketing. "They have every right to be angry - this fee is completely unfair
to customers, which is why we have taken it to the CRTC to have it removed."
Despite the confusion, Yak has determined that subscribers to Yak's long
distance plan will not be charged the fee (though users of Yak's dial-around
offerings not on a plan, such as 10-10-YAK (925) will still be charged the fee
by TELUS).
    Yak's applications are supported by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre
(PIAC), which is also considering filing its own application with the CRTC to
address this matter. "PIAC, together with the Consumers' Association of Canada
looks forward to the CRTC addressing the fact that TELUS customers' local
phone rates have been improperly raised with this new charge," said John
Lawford, in-house counsel to PIAC.
    Yak's applications request that the CRTC return basic toll service to the
regulated sphere and declare the new fee illegal, and that TELUS reimburse
customers that have already paid it. In addition, Yak has asked that
alternative providers like Yak be compensated for the extra call centre work
load that has been created by the market place confusion, especially in
respect of not making it clear that subscribers to long distance plans like
Yak's are absolved of the fee.
    "Right now carriers are not allowed to unilaterally raise local rates but
as this recent fee demonstrates, they are seeking to get around this by adding
such "access" fees," said Simon Lockie, Yak and Globalive's Chief Legal
Officer. "This is a very good example of why there needs to be more regulation
in this area by the CRTC - to protect the consumers who need it the most."

    About Yak Communications
    ------------------------
    Yak Communications offers a full array of phone services including: home
phone, long distance (1+, toll free and dial around), high speed internet,
calling cards and cellular long distance to residential consumers across
Canada. Yak's most prominent long distance offering is 10-10-YAK (925), a
dial-around service which offers very economical per minute rates.





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview please contact:
Micha Goddard, Narrative Advocacy Media, Office (416) 922-2211 ext. 3277,
Micha.goddard@narrativeadvocacy.com; Lindsay Mattick Davidson, Narrative
Advocacy Media, Office (416) 644-4123, Cell (647) 338-3977,
Lindsay.mattick@narrativeadvocacy.com

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