Prepaid Credit Cards Class Action - Sotos Class Actions

Prepaid Credit Cards

This case alleges that the defendants breached Ontario’s consumer protection laws by extracting unauthorized and illegal fees from the prepaid credit cards they sold.

The defendants are financial service providers that issue pre-paid payment cards. The defendants imposed a series of fees that the plaintiff alleges are illegal and unenforceable.  In addition, the defendants imposed expiry dates, after which balances are seized.  The plaintiff alleges that these practices are also illegal.

The case has been certified by the Court as a class action, and the Court has approved a settlement between the plaintiff and defendants.

You are automatically included in the class if you had a prepaid card from the defendants between 2012 and 2014.

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  • December 3, 2020: The claims process has now begun. If you purchased a Peoples Trust prepaid card during the class period, please submit your claim at for your share of the settlement.
  • September 25, 2020: The Court has approved the parties’ settlement. The Court’s decision is available here.
    The settlement provides for an all-inclusive payment of $17,000,000. It represents a compromise on the part of both sides. The parties have agreed that their respective appeals will be dismissed, with the exception that they have agreed that the Court of Appeal may overturn the finding on punitive damages. The settlement will provide further benefit to the Class by allowing for claims by both SLP and GPR cardholders and by removing the delay of the appeal and any leave application that would follow.
    For updates on the settlement and information on how to submit a claim, please visit:
  • July 24, 2020: The parties have entered into a settlement agreement dated July 15, 2020. A copy of the agreement can be found here.
    The settlement, which is subject to Court approval, provides for an all-inclusive payment of $17,000,000. It represents a compromise on the part of both sides. The parties have agreed that their respective appeals will be dismissed, with the exception that they have agreed that the Court of Appeal may overturn the finding on punitive damages. If approved, the settlement will provide further benefit to the Class by allowing for claims by both SLP and GPR cardholders and by removing the delay of the appeal and any leave application that would follow.
    A motion to approve the plan for giving notice to the Class of the settlement approval hearing will be heard in writing during the week of July 27, 2020. A copy of the motion record for that hearing can be found here.
    The settlement approval hearing will be held by video conference on September 25, 2020. Further information and materials will be posted as they become available.
  • May 5, 2020: In light of the COVID-19 emergency, the Court of Appeal will hear this matter remotely on June 9-10, 2020. The parties’ appeal materials are available here.
  • December 13, 2019: The hearing of the defendant’s appeal and the plaintiff’s cross-appeal has been adjourned to June 9, 2020.
  • September 25, 2019: The Court of Appeal for Ontario has scheduled the defendant’s appeal and plaintiff’s cross-appeal to be heard on February 5, 2020.
  • August 7, 2019: Justice Perell awarded the plaintiffs $1.23 million in prejudgment interest, and postjudgment interest at 3% per annum from May 13, 2019.
  • June 19, 2019: On June 12, the defendant delivered a notice of appeal. On June 19, the plaintiff delivered a notice of cross-appeal. The defendant’s appeal concerns its liability for fees charged and balances seized on Single Load Prepaid cards. The cross-appeal relates to fees charged by the defendant on its reloadable cards.
  • May 14, 2019: On May 13, 2019, Justice Perell granted judgment to the plaintiff in respect of illegal fees charged and unused balances seized by the defendants on Single Load Prepaid (SLP) cards. Justice Perell ordered the defendants to repay $15,330,000, and to pay $1.5 million in punitive damages.
  • April 10, 2019: Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice heard the plaintiff’s summary judgment motion on April 4-5, 2019. A further update will follow once His Honour’s reasons for decision are released.
  • March 12, 2019: The plaintiff’s summary judgment motion will be heard on April 4-5, 2019.
  • January 31, 2017: Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice certified a class action against Peoples Trust Company and Peoples Card Services LLP. The case, brought on behalf of thousands of Ontario consumers alleges that prepaid “credit” cards issued by the Peoples Trust Company violate the Ontario Consumer Protection Act by charging illegal fees and seizing “expired” balances. The case will now proceed to a hearing on the merits. Click here to read a copy of the certification decision.
  • November 29, 2013: Sotos LLP and Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP, co-counsel for the proposed class, filed a Statement of Claim in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Louis Sokolov

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Karen Whibley

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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.