A class-action lawsuit has been proposed against Bell by an Ontario resident who alleges that the carrier is collecting “exorbitant” fees from people who are placing and accepting calls from the province’s correctional facilities.
According to the resident, Bell is leveraging its position as the sole provider of prison phone services to charge “unconscionable” rates while misrepresenting how much this actually costs.
The claim notes that one 20-minute long distance phone call costs more that $30 CAD.
“Making prisoners’ phone calls to the outside world prohibitively expensive puts a financial and emotional strain on the prisoners and their families,” said Mohsen Seddigh of Sotos Class Actions, the company that brought forth the claim on behalf of the Ontario resident.
“It is grossly unfair because it isolates prisoners, inhibits rehabilitation and contributes to anxiety and depression. Bell Canada’s commitment to promoting awareness of mental health issues rings hollow in light of this practice.”
MobileSyrup has reached out to Bell for comment and will update this story once a response has been received.
Last month, the Government of Ontario confirmed that it’s working on a new prison telephone system that will allow inmates place calls to cellphones. Inmate advocates have criticized the existing landline-based system for being overly punitive.
The current system will remain in place until at least June, which is when the contract with Bell expires. It’s unclear what, if any, changes may be made following that point.
Source: Sotos Class Actions