Bell Mobility - Prepaid Wireless Cards - Sotos Class Actions

Bell Mobility

The Supreme Court of Canada refused leave to appeal from the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision of April 12, 2017, affirming its original decision to dismiss the plaintiff’s appeal from the judgement of Justice Belobaba granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing the lawsuit.

Sotos LLP was co-lead counsel in a class action against Bell Mobility Inc. (“Bell”) alleging that the expiry dates on Bell’s pre-paid wireless services were illegal.

The lawsuit on behalf of nearly a million Ontario customers of the Bell Mobility, Solo Mobile and Virgin Mobile Canada brands, alleges that Bell breached its contracts with its customers by seizing balances and that Bell engaged in “unfair business practices”, contrary to Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act.

More information can be found at

  • April 12, 2017 – The Ontario Court of Appeal has affirmed its original decision to dismiss the appeal. After reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledcor Construction Ltd. v. Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co., the Court of Appeal concluded that there was no basis to reach a different conclusion than had been reached in its October 20, 2016 decision.
  • October 20, 2016 – The Supreme Court of Canada has sent this case back to the Ontario Court of Appeal “for disposition in accordance with Ledcor Construction Ltd. v. Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co.” The appeal was heard on Friday January 20, 2017.
  • April 4, 2016 – The Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision today dismissing the appeal of the judgment of Justice Belobaba granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing the lawsuit.  A copy of the decision can be found here. We are reviewing the decision to determine whether to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • November 24, 2015: The Ontario Court of Appeal heard the class members’ appeal on November 23, 2015. The court reserved judgment, which means the court will draft reasons that it will forward at a later date, at which point the result of the appeal will be known. We will post the reasons when they are released. There is no deadline for the court’s reasons but we would anticipate receiving them before May 2016.
  • The appeal was heard on November 23, 2015 at 10:30 am at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N5. Class Members and the public are invited to attend all or part of the hearing. Class Counsel is appealing the Honourable Justice Belobaba’s January 28th decision. We will provide further details regarding the appeal and the next steps in the case on this website.
  • July 24, 2015: Bell filed its responding materials for the appeal. Click here to read Bell’s factum. The appeal will be heard on November 23, 2015 at 10:30 am at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N5. Class Members and the public are invited to attend all or part of the hearing.
  • April 27, 2015: Sotos LLP and Goldblatt Partners LLP (“Class Counsel”) filed their materials for the appeal. Click here to read the Factum. Further updates will be posted here once a timetable has been determined for the hearing of the appeal. We will advise of the specific date of the appeal once it has been set by the Court of Appeal.
  • March 23, 2015: Sotos LLP and Goldblatt Partners LLP (“Class Counsel”) filed a Notice of Appeal of his honour’s February 12, 2015 decision. We will advise of the date of the appeal once it has been set by the Court of Appeal.
  • February 12, 2015: The Honourable Justice Belobaba released his decision on the summary judgement motion heard on January 28, 2015. His Honour answered the central common issues in favour of Bell. In dismissing the action against Bell, His Honour found that Bell did not breach the terms of the “top up” agreements with consumers by seizing unused credits and that the expiry and forfeiture of unused credit balances was not contrary to the Gift Card Regulation.
  • January 28, 2015: The parties argued the merits of the case in a summary judgment motion before the Honourable Justice Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The parties sought determination of two central common issues in this case including (1) whether Bell Mobility Inc. (“Bell”) breached its contract with the class members by seizing class members’ prepaid credits before it was contractually entitled to do so; and (2) whether Bell was prohibited from seizing “expired” pre-paid credits because of the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and O. Reg. 17/05 (the “Gift Card Regulation”).
  • December 16, 2013: The Ontario Divisional Court denied leave to appeal the certification decision.
  • October 4, 2013: The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision certifying the action as a class proceeding.
  • May 21-22, 2013: The certification hearing was heard in Toronto before the Hon. Mr. Justice Belobaba. Judgment is pending. The court will determine whether the case can proceed this class-action and, if so, what issues can be tried commonly. Most certification decisions are subject to one or more levels of appeal. Accordingly a final determination of whether or not the case can proceed this class-action may be some time away.
Have questions about this case?

What is a class action?

A class action is a special form of lawsuit in which one plaintiff brings a claim against one or more defendants based on allegations which are common to a group, or class, of people. In order for the action to become a class action, it must proceed through a stage known as “certification”.

Who brings a class action lawsuit forward?

A statement of claim is issued on behalf of a “representative plaintiff”. The representative plaintiff’s role is to work with class counsel to bring the action forward and to represent the class members in court.

What is certification?

In order for an action to proceed on behalf of the entire class, a judge must decide (among other things) whether the members of the proposed class have common issues, and whether a class action is the preferred way to resolve the issues. The process to decide these issues is known as the “certification motion”. If the judge is satisfied that the case meets all of the requirements for certification, he or she will issue an order which certifies the action as a class action.

Do I have to do anything to “join” the lawsuit?

No. If the lawsuit is certified, and you are included in the class as defined, you are automatically included in the lawsuit.

Once I am part of the class do I have to do anything?

No. We will work primarily with the class representative.

What if I do not want to be included in the lawsuit?

Those who do not wish to remain in the class will be given the option to opt-out by sending an opt-out form at the appropriate time to us.

What are the benefits of proceeding as a class action?

Certification as a class action will enable us to prove the facts in a single lawsuit rather than in numerous individual lawsuits. This has obvious benefits to the class members and to the courts.

How long does it take for a class action to be resolved?

There is no timeframe. We will move the case forward diligently but it can take a considerable period of time to reach trial.

Can a class action lawsuit be settled without going to trial?

Many class actions settle and thereby remove the need for a trial. However, we cannot predict with any certainty whether or not there will be a settlement in a given action.

What are the chances of winning the action?

The chances of “winning” can never be accurately predicted.

Will be liable for any costs or legal fees?

Class action lawsuits are typically brought on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyers will only be paid if the action is successful at trial or results in a settlement in favour of the plaintiffs. Legal fees would then be paid out of the settlement or judgment proceeds as approved by a judge.

Disbursements (i.e. out-of-pocket expenses, including expert reports) may be dealt with in one of two ways.

Most commonly, the lawyers will absorb the cost of disbursements. The lawyers may seek funding assistance from the Class Proceeding Fund, which may provide funding for disbursements if granted.

In some cases, disbursements may be funded by the class members, including the class representative. This typically occurs in smaller class actions brought on behalf of an organization or network of individuals where each member of the class is easily identifiable and known to the representative plaintiff. If the class action is successful, amounts advanced for disbursements are re-paid from the proceeds of any judgment or settlement to class members (and others).

Will I be liable for costs of the action if it is unsuccessful?

Only the class representative may be liable for costs of the common issues portion of the action if it is unsuccessful.

When can I expect to receive a payout from this class action?

A “payout” or an award for damages is never certain.

The action may settle or it may proceed to trial, at which time a judge will determine the amount of damages, if any, to which the class members are entitled to. Regardless, the amount of “payout” cannot be predicted, and we cannot predict when the action may settle or when the trial will conclude.

How will counsel keep me updated on the progress of the case?

If the lawsuit is certified as a class action, you will receive a formal notice from the court explaining the nature of the case and providing you with the opportunity to opt out if you wish. General information about the lawsuit will be posted on Sotos LLP’s website at

Where can I send any documents that I have that may be relevant to a class action?

We ask that you keep a copy of any documents, correspondences, records, invoices, receipts, etc. that you feel might be relevant to your individual claim in the class action. If there is a “payout,” this documentation may be required in order to support your claim for compensation.

It is not required that you send any documents to us at this time.