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Bell Mobility appeal dismissed over northern 911 fee lawsuit

An appeal by Bell Mobility, regarding the charging of customers in the Northwest Territories for a non-existent 911 service, has been dismissed.

Last year, the territory’s Supreme Court decided Bell was liable to around 30,000 cellphone users across the North who were charged 75 cents each month for a 911 service unavailable in almost the entire region.

Cellphone users in the territory must dial emergency services direct, using a seven-digit number, in the absence of 911.

The lawsuit has been ongoing since 2007, when Yellowknife resident James Anderson and his son, Samuel, filed on behalf of Bell’s customers in the North. From November 2009, Bell dropped the fee.

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Read the full decision here (pdf).

In its appeal, Bell argued it had a right to charge the 911 fee despite there being no such service – or, at best, a recorded message informing customers no 911 service existed.

Justice Jean Coté dismissed that notion in a ruling highly critical of Bell, comparing it to “delivering to a starving person a photograph of a turkey dinner, and then charging him or her for a turkey dinner”.

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