Another class action has just been filed against a telephone company. This time it is Telus, continued for its clauses imposing contract termination fees that the Court of Appeal of Quebec has just declared “clearly abusive”, forcing the company to refund a portion.
A judge initially dismissed the lawsuit in 2017, but the Court of Appeal has corrected the situation by welcoming it in part this week.
Only the fees paid on the termination of fixed-term contracts (for example, a three-year plan) for telephone services in Québec for contracts concluded before June 30, 2010 are covered.
One of the plaintiffs, Éric Masson, had paid $ 100 to terminate his wireless contract, approximately one month before the scheduled end, and the other, Claude Gauthier, had to pay $ 560 to terminate a contract to wired and Internet telephony. They represented two groups of customers who wanted to recover the money paid.
Telus Mobility (TM) and Telus Communications Company (STC) submitted that the fees charged are not unreasonable as they are less than the early termination of these contracts costs them. A judge of the Superior Court had proved them right and had rejected the class action.
But after reviewing the contracts, the Court of Appeal stated that the termination clauses are indeed “abusive”. These are prohibited by the Civil Code of Quebec and the Consumer Protection Act. A clause is abusive when it puts the consumer at a disadvantage in an excessive way, thus going against what is required by good faith.
A customer has the right to unilaterally terminate his contract, recalls the Court, and the assessment of the unfairness of the termination clause must take into account the economic balance between the parties, including the number of persons concerned, and disproportionate nature of this clause.
The Court of Appeal thus calculated that the average loss sustained by Telus Mobility in the event of termination of the pre-term contract was $ 226.71 – whereas it had invoiced its clients on average $ 338.41 – and that the average loss suffered by Telus Communications Company was $ 201.38, while it had billed an average of $ 278.24.
For example, Mr. Gauthier had to pay $559.87, which is $358 more than the average loss suffered by Telus Communications Company.
“The termination clauses are clearly abusive. They allow TM and STC to claim cancellation fees that substantially exceed the damages suffered as a result of the early termination of the contracts. They disadvantage the consumer in an excessive and unreasonable way. For TM, the clause allows it to claim about 49% more than the damage suffered, and for STC, the surplus is about 38%,” writes the Court of Appeal in its judgment.
But since not all clients paid the same fees – some did not even pay any – the Court of Appeal decided to refer the file to a judge for the terms and conditions of the members’ repayment. have paid termination fees in excess of $226.71 in the case of TM and greater than $201.38 in the case of STC.
Contacted Thursday by S4Tips Telus said it was analyzing the decision of the Court of Appeal.
“We have always been transparent about termination fees and how they were calculated, both in our advertising and in our customer billing information and in our conversations with them,” the company said in an email.
In the past, other telecommunications companies such as Bell Mobility and Rogers have also been ordered to reimburse customers for termination charges on their cell phone contract deemed excessive.
The Consumer Protection Act was amended on June 30, 2010 to set the fees applicable when the contract was terminated, which was not the case before, the Court recalls in its judgment.
Bryan Nesbit has been writing and editing at SYP Studios for over two years, where he has covered everything from rocket launches to self-driving cars to strange animal science, and everything in between. He previously spent time at the Huffington Post, Mashable and The Santiago Times, earning a Masters degree in communications fromPace University along the way. When not working on his next piece, you might find Nolan traveling the world in search of the weird and wonderful. Failing that, he’ll probably be watching Netflix.
HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you should familiarize yourself with the services that an SBDC can offer you.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides assistance to small business owners with the ultimate goal of fostering local and regional economic development. That means an SBDC can do a lot for you. Find out here how these centers work and learn about the services and resources they can provide you.
What is an SBDC?
The Small Business Development Center program is one of the largest small business assistance programs in the United States.
These centers throughout the country often operate in partnership with the Small Business Administration ( SBA ) and local universities. They are funded in part by the SBA and mostly by donations, state funds, corporate sponsorships, and other grants.
What does an SBDC do?
The ultimate goal of SBDCs is to create jobs and stimulate local economies by providing small business owners and entrepreneurs with useful resources and education.
This includes in-person business consulting and necessary training in areas such as business planning, marketing, regulatory compliance, investment generation, international trade, and many other topics.
Visit the official SBDC website for more information on the wide range of resources you can access.
How do they work?
SBDCs are partially supported by federal funds through the SBA; however, they rely primarily on state government funds, charitable donations, and sponsorships.
Because Small Business Development Centers generally partner with schools and universities, they can combine the educational resources of these institutions with resources and experience from the private sector.
This enables them to provide all the information they need to help small business owners feel secure in their business endeavors.
Who do they help?
Primarily, the SBDCs focus on helping startups and start-up entrepreneurs. In short, those who need more assistance, since they have little experience at the head of a company.
But SBDCs also offer their services to established companies to help them expand and create additional jobs.
Ultimately, the SBDC resources are available to almost anyone, including women, minorities, veterans, people with disabilities, and low or moderate-income people.
Where can I find an SBDC?
Finding an SBDC is as simple as searching the SBDC website for your state or zip code.
Visit this link to find your nearest Small Business Development Center.
What services does an SBDC offer?
How can an SBDC help you?
Here is a brief overview of the services they provide, how you can access them, and how they can serve you in your business.
Small business owners can access free, long-term personal business advice, low-cost training, and more. SBDCs focus on three main areas of assistance:
- Personalized, confidential, free, and long-term technical assistance.
- Group training on topics of interest to small businesses and from the staff of SBDC and professionals from the private sector.
- The market study adapted to customer needs.
Additionally, your local SBDC can connect you with professional business advisers.
Services you can find on their website
The SBDC makes it easy for small business owners to locate services through their website.
If this interests you, you can find services through two methods:
- First, if you already know what exactly you are looking for, you can use this search engine provided by the Small Business Administration.
- But if you just want to explore the different services available, visit the SBDC website. On the home page, you will see a tab at the top titled “ Resources ”. This tab is divided into two separate sections: “Supported Offers & Resources” and “ELearning”. Browse through these sections at your leisure to see which services interest you the most.
Between these two options, you will surely be able to find the resources and assistance that best suit what you need.
Specific areas of assistance
As you can see, the ways in which a Small Business Development Center can help you are very varied.
The purpose of the SBDC is to help you navigate the complex world of small businesses, including dense perform a basic business plan to develop products or apply for grants, through a long list of areas of assistance.
Having a solid business plan is vital for any new business. Not only does it help you plan for the future, but potential lenders are likely to ask you when you apply for a loan or grant. If you have just started your business, you may not know what should be included in a business plan.
Any solid business plan should include the following:
- Financial projections
- Product development
- Consumer object
- Marketing strategies
- Company structure
SBDCs will not only let you know what sections to include in your business plan, but they will also help you write a business plan that can attract investors.
Maybe you already have an established company; however, due to a natural disaster, your business may have suffered extensive damage and you don’t know how to get ahead.
A Small Business Development Center can help you recover after a disaster: They can guide you in applying for a disaster recovery loan, buying new equipment and real estate, and recovering your clientele.
Regardless of the type of business, you have, conducting effective market research is something every entrepreneur should know how to do.
Identifying your potential consumers and marketing your products or services is crucial for the success of your business.
An SBDC can provide you with the training and resources you need to conduct accurate market research so that you can market your products or services and make your brand known to a wider audience.
These are just some of the ways that a Small Business Development Center can help your business at any stage of development. Other areas of assistance include:
- Import and export
- Product development
- Contacts of interest
Ultimately, an SBDC can help you in any area where every entrepreneur needs assistance.
Nichole Kerr is a reporter for SYP Studios. Sarah has previously worked for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat covering countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Nichole studied at Anthem Institute in Las Vegas.
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