CA$19 billion class action “system access fee” lawsuit to go ahead in Canada

A CA$19 billion class action lawsuit over “system access fees” will move forward after a Supreme Court of Canada decision. The high court also declined to hear an appeal by the carriers over lower court decisions. The case will be heard in the lower court where awards are usually worth substantially less than the claims that were made.

Merchant Law Group, which brought the suit forward, said that Canada has some of the highest cell phone charges among major developed economies. “Cellular services, in which they don’t have meaningful investment, are extremely profitable, while land line services, in which they have huge investment, are marginally profitable,” said Merchant. He further described cellular services as carriers’ “gold and silver veins.” While the fee is mostly phased out, the suit argues that it was an “unjust enrichment” charged by carriers to customers over a 20 year span.

Among the companies named in the suit are BCE Inc, Rogers Communications Inc, TELUS Corp, and Bell Aliant Inc.

TELUS spokesman Shawn Hall said, “We are confident the case is without merit and baseless, at least as it relates to TELUS.”

Read more: Reuters