The case dates back to 2004, when a lawsuit was filed to seek a refund of what have become known as the controversial "system access fees." The class action lawsuit now has 30,000 people as litigants.
The system access fees were charges that the mobile networks added on top of the usual monthly fees as a charge for accessing the mobile network. The costs were sometimes labeled as administrative fees. The costs were phased out by the networks as part of general cost reductions as two new entrants launched their networks and were offering lower fees than their incumbent rivals.
Although the fees were largely phased out or replaced with a levy claimed to cover the cost of radio spectrum purchases -- customers who have not changed their tariff since 2009 have been found to still be paying the fees.
"The ultimate goal is, they were overcharging people, charging people wrongly and we want the money back," said Mr. Merchant of Merchant Law Group and a lead lawyer in the action.
The lawsuit is claiming that the additional fees were a form of "unjust enrichment" by the companies, and hence illegal. The mobile networks naturally disagree.
The Supreme Court has now rejected the latest appeal by the mobile networks to reject the class-action lawsuit and sent it back to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench for a formal trial.
The class action lawsuit if upheld would seek refunds of the fees for all customers since April 1987.
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