If you were one of the many who decided to switch to one of the alternative cell phone carriers due to “hidden” cell phone fees, recent news may come as a pleasure.
In 2004 a class action lawsuit was brought against major telecom carriers, the focus of which was the System Access Fees. Those filing the lawsuit argued that telecom carriers were wrongly charging customers, and overcharging customers with fees that simply went towards the bottom line. The fees were labelled as administrative costs, and in some cases could be as high as $9 a month. Complaints also advised that the service fees were not clearly disclosed, and in some cases were hidden in the base fees.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada refused an appeal by Rogers, Bell, and Telus to throw out the case. This decision means that Canada’s major telecom companies could face charges up to $18-billion dollars, and some Canadian Consumers could receive a refund from their service providers.
Companies like Rogers Wireless have already made strides in phasing out their system access fees. In the case of Rogers Wireless, the fee was formerly billed at $6.95 per month, and has been replaced by a Government Regulatory Recovery fee of approximately $2.50 per month. The other major carriers are following suit with similar movies.
With discount carriers like Wind Mobile and Mobilicity offering flat cell phone rates the expectations of consumers are changing and cell phone carriers will have to adapt. If cell phone carriers choose not to adapt, the result could be an $18-billion dollar bill in their mailbox.