Justice Ron Veal of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories has dropped the hammer down on Bell by declaring a victory for thousands of customers who were charged non-existent 911 fees.
The class-action lawsuit originally started in 2007 by Yellowknife residents James and Samuel Anderson, but over the years has spread to include over 30,000 Bell Mobility customers in Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon Territories. Bell charges customers a $0.75/month fee for 9-1-1 service, however, in the North residents are required to dial a 7-digit number to receive RCMP emergency assistance because 9-1-1 service isn’t available in the area. Hence why the lawsuit was originally started – paying for services you don’t receive. The original estimation of the lawsuit was pegged at $6 million, but according to the Globe, Judge Veal said Bell was liable for the false charges, but denied the plaintiffs requests for extra punitive damages. The second stage of the trial will determine how much Bell will pay out, early estimation are between $1-million and $3-million.
Keith Landy, the plaintiffs lawyer, says the lawsuit “was a David and Goliath struggle in which the consumers have won an important victory.”