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Canadian Cellphone Users May Get Justice Over Phantom Charges

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the but-justice-is-thin-on-the-ground dept.

Canada 91

An anonymous reader writes "For years, Bell Mobility customers in northern Canada were charged 75 cents a month for 911 emergency service. The problem is that cellphone users outside Whitehorse, Yukon, don't have access to 911 service. The Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories ruled against Bell this week, following a class action lawsuit which challenged the phantom cellphone 911 billings. Subject to a possible final appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, Bell will likely owe 30,000 northern cellphone subscribers some bucks."

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Those Jerks! (1)

Kl00dge (2923239) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765161)

Pay to the order of Mrs. Wilbur Stark, one dollar and nine cents!

So many extra fees (4, Informative)

nebular (76369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765197)

Bell is horrible for the extra fees.

On my Landline, I have a 911 fee, I have a network access fee and I have a touch tone fee.

Yes a Touch Tone fee. Bell Canada has not moved the extra fee for touch tone service into their service packages. I cannot get a new pulse line, nor can I have touch tone removed from my line. There are customers who still had only pulse and so they did not get charged this fee, but you had to actively refuse touch tone service when it was being rolled out. This was ~25 years ago.

911 fee is from when 911 was being rolled out and was mandated by law. Bell put the fee there to show that it was required by law and that's why your bill was higher than before. This was 15-20 years ago.

The network access fee is the fee for Bell Canada to connect to it's own network. This was from when their monopoly was dismantled and 3rd parties were given access to their lines. Bell Canada's end user arm had to pay for access to their network. So they put in the fee to explain why the bill was higher. This also was 15-20 years ago.

You give Bell a reason to put in an extra fee, they'll take it and never give it back, no matter how unnecessary it has become.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765203)

Rogers put the 911 bill on their bills too. Probably because Bell does, and they don't want their bills to look higher. It's all BS really

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765211)

Not just Bell taking "free" money. In the US, at a recent CenturyLink employee call it was mentioned that over the past couple of years the USF accounted for about 30% of their profits.

Re:So many extra fees (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765227)

That is why I got rid of Verizon here. I had two lines, one for business and one for personal. Both were charged the tone dialing fee per month and the personal line was being charged $3/month to be unlisted and unpublished and the business line was being charged $3/month to be listed and published. Funny.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765821)

That's funny to the point of being absurd. One has to wonder what would happen if no fee were paid.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769187)

One has to wonder what would happen if no fee were paid.

You haven't been listening. That's an impossible situation, like divide by zero.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year and a half ago | (#43773909)

No, I saw it. Thanks. The impossible situation was what I meant.

"Ok, sir, now would you want your number listed or unlisted?"
"I don't care."
"But, sir, you have to choose."
"No, no I don't. I choose not to choose."
"But, sir...."
"Tell you what, you decide. I'll accept whatever you choose. But since it's your choice, then you pay for it."
"[pulling hair in between muttered imprecations and threats]"

That's what I saw as the absurdity that AC pointed out. It's simply an outgrowth of the way companies find ways to charge something for everything. Days past, to be listed and published was the default, and free. One paid extra to be unlisted.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

chrish (4714) | about a year and a half ago | (#43781427)

Then you'd be charged the No-Fee Convenience Fee, which is only $4.95 per month.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year and a half ago | (#43782019)

Ouch.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

LulzAndOrder (2667597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765261)

just for the record, and in keeping with how markets operate, these fees you are complaining about make no difference in the price you pay for service. If they are a monopoly or cartel market power, yes, you will be paying extra for that. But if they do not have monopoly power, then competition will drive that fee out of the price of the rest of the package. You're probably itching to say "oooh, but these are govt regulations, these fees etc blah blah". Yes, taking all that into account, the above is true.

Uh... Bell IS a monoploy (4, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765289)

While they're slowly losing to cell phone companies and such, the Bell company in question DOES have a legal monopoly on the land line system in the area. Given that things like the 'touch tone' fee are known to piss people off, it's probably because they're regulated on what they can charge as part of the 'basic fee', having to go before a board or whatever to get that increased. Meanwhile, with sufficient justification they can add a fee, but no regulatory structure to REMOVE said fees, thus the continuation of them long past when it made sense.

Sort of like how we had a tax here in the USA meant to pay for the last spanish-american war* that was finally ended less than a decade ago. Or how tolls will go up to 'pay for the construction' of some road or bridge, but never get taken down, even after all the construction costs have been recouped several times over.

*Which a lot of US history student don't even know about.

Re:Uh... Bell IS a monoploy (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765325)

Bell is one of the largest cell providers in Canada, it's not losing to anyone. Especially since in Canada there's a defacto monopoly on providing services since we have "canadian ownership rules" which dictate whether a company is even allowed to operate here.

Re:Uh... Bell IS a monoploy (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765693)

Bell isn't a true monopoly. Not anymore anyway. They are a defacto monopoly because when deregulation happened Bell was not forced to sell of their lines, or spin ownership of them into a separate company.

They are required by law to share, and do so as begrudgingly as they can.

Re:Uh... Bell IS a monoploy (1)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year and a half ago | (#43767751)

But a little while ago they were planning to raise their data rates, which meant *everyones* data rate was going to go up, no matter what their service provider, because Bell owns the vast majority of the internet lines across the entire country.

They *are* effectively a monopoly, just as our cellphone carriers (Bell included) charge roughly the same high rates (Canadians pay some of the highest fees in the world) because there is *no* real competition, just the appearance of it. Most of the smaller providers actually belong to one of the bigger players for instance. Their sole purpose seems to make it look like there is more choice, but its a sham.

Re:Uh... Bell IS a monoploy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766445)

... Sort of like how we had a tax ...

Governments and corporations want more money to pay their expenses, so they directly pass it on. Of course, when the bill is paid they still want more money. Conveniently, their customers are used to paying the old fees/taxes so there is no complaint over 'unneeded' taxes. That unneeded fee/tax becomes general revenue where it is forgotten. Then a new expense arrives and the process starts again.

Re:Uh... Bell IS a monoploy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43768537)

quit spewing lies:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_telephone_excise_tax

Re:Uh... Bell IS a monoploy (1)

lsatenstein (949458) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769785)

While they're slowly losing to cell phone companies and such, the Bell company in question DOES have a legal monopoly on the land line system in the area. Given that things like the 'touch tone' fee are known to piss people off, it's probably because they're regulated on what they can charge as part of the 'basic fee', having to go before a board or whatever to get that increased. Meanwhile, with sufficient justification they can add a fee, but no regulatory structure to REMOVE said fees, thus the continuation of them long past when it made sense.

Sort of like how we had a tax here in the USA meant to pay for the last spanish-american war* that was finally ended less than a decade ago. Or how tolls will go up to 'pay for the construction' of some road or bridge, but never get taken down, even after all the construction costs have been recouped several times over.

*Which a lot of US history student don't even know about.

I cant understand your remaining with a landline. I took a voip provider (minimum use, with North American calling, caller id, call waiting, conferencing, emails with missed messages and whatever. I got their little adapter box onto the router. I bought a ups for the router, the adapter box and for the cordless phones in the house. Last time we had a power failure (I test by pulling the main breaker), I still had phone service for hours. I used Vonage.

Re:Uh... Bell IS a monoploy (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43773895)

I cant understand your remaining with a landline.

I don't have a landline. I said that they have a legal monopoly on landlines. There's a difference. I'm also not in the area.

Still, some reasons:
1. Comes effectively for free with bundles. The only reason I don't have one is to avoid the various taxes and fees, which actually end up being more than the basic charge for one. From memory: $2.50 for local 911, $1.50 for state 911*, USF charge of $5, sales tax, regulatory fee, etc...
2. Remote monitoring. Living in an area where freezing is a real problem and you can have a very tight timeline for having your heat restored before the pipes freeze, lots of people have monitoring boxes that hook into the phone line and call your cell phone(or whatever number you assign) if the temperature dips. Right now systems that hook into a standard phone line are substantially cheaper than those that hook into cellular networks or signal by other means.

*Subsidizes the remote regions

Re:So many extra fees (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765681)

The Fees are historical. They were added on at a time where the service was controversial, so they were separated from the service price in an effort to be transparent. But now that those services are common and expected, they leave the fees there so their advertised price will be lower than the actual price. Right now I'm paying $50 for a service that was advertised to me for $30.

I'm not happy and intend to leave, but my line was in bad shape so I'm having work done on it so I don't want to change my service and end up keeping the temp line strung above my driveway for a couple years (This has happened before). The only reasonable internet in my area is DSL so I need that line fixed first.

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765263)

We need to stop all these extra non-optional fees, and it's not just cell providers. I bought a toaster in BC advertised for $25, but by the time they added taxes and environmental fees it cost me almost $40. Not to mention airlines with their taxes, fees and surcharges that more than double the initial price. These aren't optional so they should be part of the sticker price.

Write to your MP and tell them to pass a law making it mandatory to include anything that's not optional (taxes and fees included) in the sticker price, so we don't get surprises at checkout/with our bills.

Re:So many extra fees (4, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765439)

In Europe you pay the sticker price. That must include all taxes. If the pricing is wrong, they will have to give you it for the advertised price as long as it is reasonable. So no buying a Mercedes for 50EUR if they forgot a couple of zeroes.
I did buy a headset for 10EUR instead of 30 as that was how much it was advertised as. Obviously they corrected the price immediately.
This is also the case for restaurants and bars. So no tipping in many places (or minimal tipping) as people get payed by their boss for the work that they do.

Re:So many extra fees (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765571)

I know I used to live there and it was great. I don't understand why we have to do it ass-backwards here in North America. The tipping in restaurants and bars is a great example. in Europe the staff gets reasonable pay and serve all customers equally, here they pre-judge you based only on your appearance and if they think you're not a good tipper they won't give you any attention. Awful.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765699)

At least in Ontario and Canada for the GST the taxes are separate so that you know exactly what you are paying and it is broken down. So the store IS charging $25 for the toaster, and the gov't is taking an additional 13%(in ontario). They thought about having both prices on the tag, but that was lobbied away as being to complex to implement.

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765811)

That's total bullshit. As others have pointed European countries have taxes too yet don't charge separately, and it works. And just like in Europe they can break down the charges on the receipt, like they do at gas stations here. Taxes are included in the gas price and nobody complains so why not include it in everything else. What you don't think you pay 13% tax on gas? You fool...

And why stop at taxes? Why not charge separately for rent, for the salesperson's commission, for the cost of transportation, packaging, store hydro, etc. And do you really think that 13% is the only tax you're paying on the toaster? No my naive friend, there are many other taxes that are already worked into the price of the product. The only reason they add taxes and fees on top of the price tag is because they don't want you to get sticker shock and they want to fool you into thinking that toaster costs you only $25 when it really costs $40.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765857)

No I agree the sticker price should be after tax, I was just explaining WHY it is what it is here. The gov't wants you to know exactly what they are taking and the retail establishments want to only put the lower price on the sticker. the reason it's not separate with gas is because we pump before we pay and it's metered. If it was pay before pump the could easily have it as a separate item.

There are reasons for everything, they may be stupid reasons but there are reasons.

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766047)

There are reasons for everything, they may be stupid reasons but there are reasons.

Those are not reasons, they're bullshit that the retailers feed us hoping that we're all naive like you and believe it. Fool yourself if you want, but don't think for a second that we're all fools.

ONCE AGAIN: in Europe they include the taxes in the sticker price. They've been doing it for decades and it works fine. So don't try to feed me your bullshit "reasons," You politician.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771411)

*sigh*

I never said I agreed with the reasons, I just explained why. If you're going to refute something, you better know the position of the other side through and through otherwise you could be blindsided.

Everything has a reason, not all reasons are good.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

dryeo (100693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766313)

In BC we've had successive right wing governments that campaign on lower taxes as they're good for the economy. So instead of having a tax on that toaster that is a percentage, they have an environment fee that's $10. Since the fee is the same whether you pay $25 for the toaster or buy the $100 toaster it hits the poor the hardest. There are many similar examples so that many purchases are way higher then expected, especially if you're poor. Since obviously the rich need to keep all their money, it's only logical that the poor pay the largest percentage of their income in "fees" to make up for the low taxes.
Bastards also learned how to do a budget at the Hollywood school of accounting and people fall for it.
Car analogy, they're cheap to operate if you never change the oil, never do a tune up and if you sell the tires you can really cut your expanses. Just down the road you're going to pay for being short-sightless.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

evilbessie (873633) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766825)

One of the reasons that is bandied about is that advertising regions do not match up with state borders so differing sales taxes would cause the advertising to be wrong. It does piss me off when nothing in a $1 store is actually $1 though. I'm glad Europe got its shit together to get rid of most of these extra unavoidable fees.

Re:So many extra fees (2)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766193)

In Europe you pay the sticker price. That must include all taxes.

Europe generally has national taxes so prices are consistent throughout a country. The U.S. and to a lesser extent Canada have a hodgepodge of state/province and local taxes. If we required stores to post after-tax prices, it would make comparison shopping impossibly complicated. A widget would be $10.77 at one Best Buy and $10.45 at another, while someone else would post saying they got it at Frys for $10.55. By adding the tax on afterward, everyone knows that Best Buy's price for the widget is $9.95, and you can compare it to Frys' price of $9.75 without being confused by the different tax rates in the different counties/cities.

European-style advertisement (with post-tax prices) is also impossible here for the same reason. Best Buy would have to put out a TV ad saying a laptop was on sale this weekend for $1067.14, $1069.63, $1072.11, $1074.60, $1077.09, $1079.58, and $1082.06 for California alone, depending on your county/city's taxes. It makes more sense for them just to advertise $995, and let the viewer add on the tax depending on where they live.

This is also the case for restaurants and bars. So no tipping in many places (or minimal tipping) as people get payed by their boss for the work that they do.

The waiter/waitress here still gets paid and are subject to minimum wage laws. The tip is just extra (tips are more a cultural phenomenon anyway - in some places it's actually an insult to leave a tip). The only jobs not subject to minimum wage laws are contract jobs (where you're being paid a fixed amount to deliver an end product) and commission jobs (e.g. car salesmen who get paid a commission per sale).

On a philosophical level, I think it's better to list the tax separately. That way the citizens can see exactly how much of what they paid went to buying the product, and how much went to government-mandated taxes. That's not to say the U.S. way is better - you can do the same thing with the European system. On the receipt you just have to break down the advertised 9.95 Euro price into merchandise and taxes.

I don't care about taxes (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766417)

If companies have trouble advertising because they don't want to sell stuff for a different price in each town, they should uniform the end price and deal with the taxes themselves. They have to pay a different rent on the building they have in each town, they have different wages for their staff, heating costs differ, lots of things differ. I don't see them putting those in the price of each item in every single store individually. Why make an exemption for local taxes for that? This way, people are being lead to believe something is cheap and they will spend more than they can afford. It's human nature to do so, however predictable and preventable. This is a sales trick and it will be in the consumers benefit if they have to stop doing that. Since everyone in the USA is a consumer and only a few percent are a company, there's a clear majority here that will profit from such a law. Companies can't vote, consumers can. The fact that companies still get to do this, shows how much democracy is effective in the USA.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

hankwang (413283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766577)

"you can do the same thing with the European system. On the receipt you just have to break down the advertised 9.95 Euro price into merchandise and taxes."

The national sales tax (VAT, or the local-language equivalent) is always printed on the receipt in the EU. Other taxes that come to mind: tourist tax on hotel stays, which is also printed on the receipt (city-dependent fee, not always listed up-front) and "extra costs" on plane tickets which used to be treacherous but must be included in the ticket price nowadays.

There are special tariffs/duties on things like alcohol and cigarettes, but I've never seen them stated explicitly, not even in an airport duty-free shop.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

Eivind (15695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766785)

You can still get that information over here, it's typically printed on the receipt.

So the sticker will say simply â19.95 or whatever, but the receipt will list the actual item-cost and the taxes separately.

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766961)

"If we required stores to post after-tax prices, it would make comparison shopping impossibly complicated"

What? But the real under the line all inclusive price is what you are comparing! What amount of money leaves my pocket if I buy there. When ordering stuff across borders I have to include any taxes, tariffs and shipping. Just looking at the price of the object itself is meaningles.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | about a year and a half ago | (#43767287)

I call BS. In Washington, all stores post there price for alcohol, Plus this state tax, plus that state tax, and your final price. This is because it was recently moved from state run to private. The stores didn't want people complaining that the prices were to high so they wanted to blatantly post how much the state was taking and what your final price would be BEFORE you ever took the bottle off the shelf.

So BS to it can't be done. And as posted below it would be nice to be able to compare after tax.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

Garybaldy (1233166) | about a year and a half ago | (#43767607)

The fact that some of our states are larger them some of your countries might give you more of an understanding of why every state is different. Honestly why should those that live in one street town USA pay the same rate as those in huge cities with a massive infrastructure.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

kwark (512736) | about a year and a half ago | (#43772105)

And yet, living in an economic union where national and county taxes differ (and even currency might differ), I can order something from anywhere within this said union and know upfront what it will cost since all prices are all inclusive. The sheepfarmer on a Greece island pays the same for a product itself from the same store/seller as the business man in downtown London. Only variable is shipping costs.

Re: So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43767849)

Minimum wage for waitresses is often far less than standard.

In Nova Scotia, min wage is 10.65 (Stupidly high taxes and cost of living though)

Waitress minimum wage: ~3.25

Re:So many extra fees (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43768945)

Why wouldn't you include the taxes in your comparisons? Still money out of your pocket.

In my experience (extensive) places where tips are not expected or where they are added to the bill have uniformly horrible service.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771447)

The waiter/waitress here still gets paid and are subject to minimum wage laws. The tip is just extra (tips are more a cultural phenomenon anyway - in some places it's actually an insult to leave a tip).

If by 'here' you mean the U.S., you should know that there is a 'special' lower minimum wage paid to waitstaff based on the argument that tips will make up the difference. If nobody tips, they will certainly not be able to pay the rent.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

hankwang (413283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766821)

In Europe ... So no tipping in many places (or minimal tipping) as people get payed by their boss for the work that they do.

You can't generalize that across all of Europe, unless "minimal tipping" means anything less than 15% in a restaurant. Tipping conventions vary quite a bit over Europe (based on the travel guides that I've seen). And for instance, in the UK, the 10% service charge on restaurant bills seems to be optional in some cases, although I don't visit the UK often enough to grasp the substle details here.

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766913)

Yep same in New Zealand. The advertised price for consumer products must include GST

We dont have tipping here, we don't use "tips" as an excuse to pay less than the minimum wage to staff
All employees are entitled to 4 weeks paid leave a year as well as 10 days paid sick leave a year

And we dont need to own a gun to feel safe in our own homes.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766999)

Ah, so that explains the horror stories of being ignored at restaurants. They don't have to work for it. It all makes sense now.

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765633)

The gvt is the one which doesnt want the "all in" price listed as those "extra fees" are gvt fees.

My fav is "environmental fee". I pay $7,000 a year in proprty tax which includes waste disposal. Because i buy a TV i now have to fork over even more money to some "quasi-government party" to manage its disposal 10 years later?

Re:So many extra fees (1)

Bahamut_Omega (811064) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765319)

Actually I know of that first hand from having lived in the NWT as a kid. One of the emergency numbers I could remember that was almost universal to the territories would have been xxx-2222 for the fire department. Though I do recall having also dispatched fire calls from the hotel that I had worked at, where I could have ignored the front desk if there was a fire call coming in. Also had false alarms and prank calls, though those would just be written down on the little clipboard beside the desk in the rear office as well.

I haven't looked at a NorthwesTel phone book in a while, so I would assume the numbers are still the same for the NWT & Nunavut.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765393)

My dad refused to pay for touch tone in the US, and he had his ancient, black Bakelite indestructible phone upstairs for decades. It was idiotic for the phone company, which had long since converted to computers for both signal types. But they wanted to charge for the "premium" touch tone.

As for this, the company claims it's required nationwide by regulation. Fair enough. Show the money went for 911 elsewhere, and not oopsidentally into your pocket.

Re:So many extra fees (2)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765923)

"oopsidentally" - what a fine, wonderful, sensical word!

I'll return two for the gift: u-trou, and flutterby (perhaps the best descriptive noun I've met)

I wouldn't mind having my old desk telephone. Tedious when in a hurry; perforce gives time to think before speaking.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771461)

Gotta love the old bakelite phones. If someone breaks in, you can bash him over the head with the phone confident that it will still work so you can call the cops to collect the body.

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765421)

Wow... *pulse*?? Around here we went through touch tone, ISDN, DSL/Cable with NGN, and are now obviously using (audio/video capable) instant messengers.

Do they also charge acoustic coupler usage, or is that too modern for them?

You'd be better off just getting $5 from everyone in the neighborhood, and setting up your own cell phone cell with a XMPP/Jingle/SIP gateway for the whole town/valley/whatever.

Just... wow...

Re:So many extra fees (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765711)

Every hardline in North America still can use pulse. It's required. So the computers that run the switches understand pulses (also it'll work on any phone, just hit the button to hang it up enough times to dial). My Grandmother in law never got touch tone, so she was never charged for it. Until there isn't a single client that has pulse only service the fee could be argued as valid.

It's stupid, but valid.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771465)

It's not really valid since it costs nothing to provide and landlines are still regulated monopolies.

Re:So many extra fees (4, Interesting)

ottawanker (597020) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765495)

My parents still have pulse dialing.. Every once in a while Bell tries to sneak the Tone dialing onto their bill and they have to call and have it taken off. The funny thing is, I bet is costs Bell more now to supply Pulse dialing than Tone.

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766485)

I can't guarantee but I'm a tech for Telus and our telephone switches can do pulse or tone dialling it's just an option that needs to be set in the line equipment. A huge portion of telephone equipment is backwards compatible.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765523)

es a Touch Tone fee. Bell Canada has not moved the extra fee for touch tone service into their service packages. I cannot get a new pulse line, nor can I have touch tone removed from my line. There are customers who still had only pulse and so they did not get charged this fee, but you had to actively refuse touch tone service when it was being rolled out. This was ~25 years ago.

Almost as bad as the AT&T white page listing fees. It's $0.35/mo to be listed in the phone book, and $0.45/mo NOT to be listed. Last time I signed up for AT&T landline service (which was years ago - only the stupid or Internet deprived subscribe to AT&T landlines these days) they asked me which extra service I wanted and I said "neither". I knew the eventual outcome but it was fun acting confused for a few minutes while the service rep struggled to "explain" it to me :)

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43767159)

"Almost as bad as the AT&T white page listing fees. It's $0.35/mo to be listed in the phone book, and $0.45/mo NOT to be listed."

So, basically like this [wikia.com] ?

Re:So many extra fees (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771469)

tell them "both" and then angrily call demanding a refund for whichever one they failed to do.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

dryeo (100693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766339)

They're all horrible. Telus charges me $5 for not making enough long distance calls, $9 for call display (which the wife insists on having) and $35 for crappy dial-up. They have package deals if you get high speed but they sure as hell aren't ever going to upgrade the old copper lines around here. They might put in a cell tower if they're paid enough by BC Hydro (government run power company) so they can actually use that expensive smart meter that they installed on the pretext of saving me money and fixing the power outages quicker, perhaps in 71 hours instead of 72 hours.

Re:So many extra fees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770503)

I'm a radio tech at A Large Northern Telecom.
A Large Northern Telecom paid me to install the infrastructure for 911 service. The northern communities are not using said infrastructure. A Large Northern Telecom still has to pay me.

Re:So many extra fees (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about a year and a half ago | (#43781063)

Try buying a new phone and see how many other fees they have.

There are a ton, and even when they offer promotions to waive some, there are always others.

As part of the promotion to sign another 3 year contract as an existing customer, they waived the "administration fee".

However when you go to get your actual phone, you have to now go to a brink and mortar Bell Store, who will charge you an "upgrade fee", which apparently is something totally different than an administration fee.

If I didn't absolutely need a phone, and with complete certitude know that Rogers is just as bad, I would drop them like a bad habit.

Unfortunately we have little choice up here in Canuckistan.

Unfortunately (1)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765201)

class-action settlements usually don't amount to much to the individuals involved in the suit...

Re:Unfortunately (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766059)

Indeed. 30,000 persons will pay a small amount from a carrier POV. This is a problem with that kind of justice: when someone steals or kill, he has to pay a heavy dissuasive "price", also intended to be understood by other people: "look, this is the 'price' you pay if you steal/kill".
Instead, being rather lenient, the court doesn't discourage that kind of behavior in companies.

FTFY (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765223)

Bell will likely owe some law firm some bucks.

Assuming it works like it does in the USA.

Re:FTFY (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765273)

Maybe the law firm will by some people some beers eh.

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765885)

"by" vs "buy".

As in BUY yourself an education.

Re:FTFY (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year and a half ago | (#43767995)

No, no, it's "by", as in, paid "by some people".

A law firm buying someone something - you crack me up!

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765321)

Actually, this will allow those who can't get 911 service to call the law firms when they need help. Of course, the law firms will charge them much more than Bell Mobility was.

disgusting charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765231)

thats crazy even a phone without a sim in the uk can still dial 999

Re:disgusting charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765307)

Is there any civilized country where dialing 911/999/112 needs a contract/payment? Should be free via mobile, landling and that last payphone.

Re:disgusting charge (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | about a year and a half ago | (#43767307)

Every time I call from my cell phone I get a 911 charge on my bill. If I'm not in trouble, don't expect me to call in when you are getting mugged.

Re: disgusting charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765351)

Cell phones in Canada can still dial 911 even without a sim. ( or 112 or 999 )
The fee is the e911 fee, which provides location information to emergency responders.

Re:disgusting charge (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765585)

Wait, I thought it was 0118 999 881 999 119 7253?

Re:disgusting charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766685)

Damn you! I was planning a productive sunday, but now I'm stuck at home watching all four seasons back to back.

...after it pays us lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765233)

because we are those who made this possible and it is we who shall WHO MUST reap the reward

what is left the rest can divide

god save the queen

WTF?! Fee for 911? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765271)

Where I live, emergency services are totally free and can always be dialed from a cellphone, even if you don't have a valid subscription and usually even without the SIM card. It boggles my mind that it could be different anywhere.

E911 costs? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765293)

E911 costs?

Re:E911 costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765315)

Yeah, that's why you pay taxes.

Re:E911 costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765361)

People in the US don't like paying taxes. They prefer paying non-optional fees, because they figure that with fair competition they will be charged less by for-profit companies than by the non-competitive government.

I've noticed that they also like to moan a lot about this arrangement.

Re:WTF?! Fee for 911? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765341)

Well, that's true in canuckistan, too. You can dial 911 on any phone, with or without SIM. But, as I understand it, the call centers are paid for in part at least by phone users. Basically, a user fee for a government service. People calling 911 on a SIMless card are free-riding.

Re:WTF?! Fee for 911? (2)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765471)

In Europe, the call centers are payed for by taxes, just like you pay for police and fire departments and they come out of their budget.
The fee for the actual call is absorbed by the telco and thus is payed by everybody else indirectly. That amount however is minimal and just a cost of doing business, just like the computers they use, the domain they own and even toilet paper.

Re:WTF?! Fee for 911? (1)

dryeo (100693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766361)

In Canada, we have low taxes and high fees. Every time you get an extra $10 on your pay check from a tax cut, your employer has an excuse to not raise your pay to match inflation and you pay an extra $20 in fees. But we have low taxes so it must be great.
Of course since the right wingers got into power and cut spending like crazy in the things they hate like making sure our meat isn't poisonous, the budget surplus is gone to be replaced with promises about how with even more cuts the budget will be balanced once again in a few years.

Class Action (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765399)

Like all class action lawsuits, end users will see next to nothing, and more likely than not will actually see a coupon.

Re:Class Action (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765507)

Yup. The lawyers will get $30 million, and the users will get a $10 gift certificate to Hot Topic. Which they also don't have in Canada! Damn you, Bell Mobility!

Re:Class Action (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766807)

But what is the alternative? If the company had been willing to give the money to their users from the beginning, then no lawsuit would have been necessary.
They obviously weren't, so lawyers were involved. They took a disproportionate cut of the winnings, but at least the users got something out of it. Without a class action lawsuit, they could only have gotten their 10$ if they'd been willing to pay thousands in lawyer fees for it.

With interest and inflation adjustments, I hope (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765529)

I do hope that when Bell is required to pay back the money they stole for non-existent services that they're required to pay interest and adjust for inflation... :P

Re:With interest and inflation adjustments, I hope (1)

dryeo (100693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766367)

Going for the funny mod.

911 fees on data only device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765555)

They also force the 911 fee on DSL internet and data only SIM's.

what a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765867)

only 30 thousand? lol.. SUCH A BIG DEAL

Re:what a joke (1)

rst123 (2440064) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765947)

Yes, feeding a troll.
Keep in mind that the Northwest territories only has a population of about 40,000. If the Yukon outside Whitehorse is included as implied, that adds about 20,000. So that means half of two territories are involved in the lawsuit.

Geography (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766215)

"Bell will likely owe 30,000 northern cellphone subscribers some bucks."

Because only 100,000 people live up there, an area 3/5 the size of the USA....

(I live in Toronto, and I've been north. It's pretty much devoid of people up there...)

A better strategy is to ask them for 911 service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43768271)

If they have been charging for the service,
    instead fo sueing for a refund, which the lawyers get,

sue for the service which is useful.

They took the money, now should they have to provide the service.

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