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October 03, 2013
By Celia Sankar
The Ontario Superior Court is expected to release its decision shortly on whether Ontario prepaid wireless customers can collectively sue Bell Mobility over its handling of prepaid wireless balance expiry.
Justice Edward Belobaba's decision, which could possibly come on Friday, will focus on a very narrow aspect of the case know as Sankar v. Bell Mobility. The issue is whether the court will allow me to represent all Ontario prepaid wireless customers.
If the case is certified as a class action proceeding, the grievances of a million-plus Ontario customers will be heard all at once, in a single hearing.
A class action proceeding is more efficient than the alternative, which would be for each customer to individually take Bell to court to recover funds lost when Bell seized account balances earlier than the stated expiry dates, as claimed.
Certification as a class action proceeding would also promote access to justice. Even if he or she lost hundreds of dollars, an individual customer would usually think it more trouble than it's worth to try to recover the loss through the courts. However, through a class action proceeding the collective damages are significant; this enables similarly-affected consumers (who are described as "the class") to hire legal counsel to take on giant corporations.
In our case, Ontario prepaid wireless customers are seeking $100 million in damages, which we claim Bell wrongfully took from us before the expiry date it communicated to us.
Watch this space for details.