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Class action suit filed against Bell, Telus for new texting fees

A Quebec man has launched a class action lawsuit against Bell Mobility and Telus, following a move by the cellphone providers to charge customers for incoming text messages.

A Quebec man has launched a class action lawsuit against Bell Mobility and Telus, following a move by the cellphone providers to charge customers for incoming text messages.

Eric Cormier, who has subscribed to Bell Mobility for the past decade, says by introducing the new fees, the companies have changed the terms of their cellular contracts.

"This was something that was free up until then and the problem for the consumers is that they cannot re-negotiate the contract," said lawyer Noel Saint-Pierre.

"What we're trying to get the court to say is that for the duration of a contract … the telephone company should not be able to unilaterally modify the conditions of the contract."

A separate class action lawsuit was filed against Telus on July 14.

Under the new plans, customers will be charged 15 cents to receive incoming text messages, including uninvited spam messages. Previously, customers without text plans were charged only for outgoing messages. Customers with a text messaging rate plan or bundle will not be affected by the new charges.

Bell's new pricing plan takes effect on Aug. 8, while Telus will begin charging customers for messages on Aug. 24.

Industry Minister Jim Prentice has called on the chief executive officers of Bell and Telus to meet with him, calling the introduction of the new fees a "poorly thought out decision."

Last week, a U.S. District Court in Seattle rejected a motion by T-Mobile to dismiss a case over text messaging charges. Consumer Marco Zaldivar filed the suit, complaining he was being charged an additional $20 to $30 per month for unwanted text messages.

With files from the Canadian Press

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