Montréal, July 30th, 2008 – Union des consommateurs asks Bell to reimburse customers for the Internet services the company refuses to give without deliberately slowing it

Are you a member of the group?

Union des consommateurs and a Montreal’s consumer, Myrna Raphael, asked the Superior Court of Quebec to authorize a class action lawsuit against Bell Canada on behalf of all consumers from Quebec and Ontario, who subscribed to one of Bell’s Internet ADSL access services after October 27 2007.

Bell Canada, who is promoting its Internet services, as being of “a constant speed, always quick of access, without frustrating delays, even at peak times,” has, since last fall, integrated on the sly to its network a device that deliberately slows the speed of data transfer during the rush hour.

To scrutinize users’ data and control Internet traffic, Bell uses a technology known as, Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), which violates the right to privacy of consumers who make use of Internet services provided by the latter.

In 2006, Myrna Raphael signed a 3 year contract with Bell Canada in order to benefit from the high speed Internet services provided by the company. For this consumer, as well as thousands of others, the constant speed access was a deciding factor in her choice of a service provider. Since Bell systematically applies its speed reducing measures, Mrs. Raphael and her husband can no longer, in the evening, make use of the Internet to accomplish activities for which she had initially subscribed to Bell’s services.

Firstly, Union des consommateurs requests that the Court declares illegal the practice of slowing the transfer of data that Bell Canada applied systematically and unilaterally to its hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Secondly, Union des consommateurs also demands that the Court orders Bell Canada to repay to the consumers, who do not benefit from the services for which they paid for, 80% of their monthly subscription. Union des consommateurs also asks that the Court orders Bell to pay to each member of the group, $ 600.00 in damages for the false representations the company has made in regards to the constant speed of the Internet connection that it is, allegedly committed to providing to its consumer. Furthermore, Union des consommateurs asks of the Court to order Bell to cease its violation of its consumers’ right to privacy and to pay $ 1 500.00 in damages for the infringement of their right to privacy.

Members of the class action are

“Any physical person residing in Quebec or Ontario who, on or since October 28, 2007 subscribed or was a subscriber to Bell Canada’s ADSL residential INTERNET service the said service having been marketed under one or other of the following names or brands :
· Total Internet Essential,
· Total Internet Plus,
· Total Internet Performance,
· Total Internet Performance Plus,
· Total Internet Max,
· SympaticoTM High Speed,
· SympaticoTM High Speed Ultra,
· SympaticoTM Basic and Basic Lite Internet Service.”

Union des consommateurs and Mrs. Myrna Raphael, the designated person in the present case, are represented by the law firm of  Unterberg, Labelle, Lebeau.

Contact : Anthony Hémond
Analyst for Union des consommateurs

514 521-6820, poste 253

You can find the Motion (french only) on the Canadian Bar Association website.