Cellphone class-action suit gets green light

CBC News
A Saskatchewan court has certified a class-action lawsuit against Canada's cellphone companies for their "system access fee," which could ignite a struggle over billions of dollars consumers have paid to wireless providers for the monthly charge.
The suit, lodged by Montreal-based lawyer Tony Merchant, alleges that Canadians have been misled by the carriers into thinking the access fee typically between $6.95 and $8.95 a month was a tax by the government or the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, when in fact it was simply extra revenue for cellphone companies.
The suit has been filed on behalf of the more than 14 million monthly cellphone subscribers, or nearly half the country's population, and seeks the return of an estimated $12 billion plus interest in charges. After interest, that would result in nearly $20 billion, or about $600 to $700 per customer, Merchant said.
The fee did indeed start out as a government levy for using the airwaves that cellphones run on, which consumers paid directly to Industry Canada. In 1986, the government department transferred collection of the fee to cellphone providers, who were to incorporate the levy into their monthly charges. But the carriers instead opted to keep them separate.
No other cellphone providers in the world charge a separate system access fee, and Canadian carriers have used them as marketing tools, making their monthly fees appear lower than they actually are, Merchant said.
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Tell us your cellphone bill stories. Have you encountered hidden fees or do you think Canadian cellphone companies are providing good value for your money?

Who hasn't encountered hidden charges. A $30/month plan that turns into $50/month, over three years....BASTARDS. Stick it to them.

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