Bell Mobility’s phantom services

Lawyers pushing a class-action lawsuit against Bell Mobility are trying to expand it to include rural Yukon. The lawsuit accuses the telco of charging customers for 911 services they couldn't receive.

Lawyers pushing a class-action lawsuit against Bell Mobility are trying to expand it to include rural Yukon.

The lawsuit accuses the telco of charging customers for 911 services they couldn’t receive.

Whitehorse is the only jurisdiction in the North that has 911 services.

Yellowknife resident James Anderson filed the original lawsuit in 2007.

He was always bothered by the fact he was being charged for a service that he couldn’t access.

“At the time there wasn’t much competition for cellphones, Bell Mobility was the big player,” said Anderson. “You either paid the monthly fee or you didn’t get a phone. “

Last year, the lawsuit was certified as a class action.

It started in the Northwest Territories, but Tuesday a motion was presented to expand the suit to include Nunavut and rural Yukon communities.

Bell no longer charges for 911 services on new plans in regions where it’s not available.

But for several years Bell Mobility had been charging northern customers 75 cents a month, $9 a year, for 911 services that didn’t exist.

Individually it’s a small amount of money, but spread out over several years and thousands of customers, it could be millions of dollars.

“The action was commenced for $6 million,” said Keith Landy who is representing the class action. “It’s sort of a round number until we actually find out what it is.”

On Tuesday, Landy argued all customers who were charged for non-existent 911 services should automatically be included in the suit.

The lawsuit has been in the works for several years, but it could drag on for several more, said Landy.

“It really depends how strongly Bell continues to oppose this claim,” he said. “But we’re hopeful that they will want to treat their subscribers fairly and try to get this matter resolved as soon as possible.”

Bell Mobility refused to comment on the case because it’s still before the court.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com