In a resounding victory for the pharmaceutical industry, the Quebec Court of Appeal held that the province’s consumer protection law does not apply to the sale of prescription drugs, jettisoning a legal avenue a growing number of class action plaintiffs were using to sue the industry.
Barely a week after Bell Canada’s wireless provider was compelled to pay $1.6 million to some 76,000 clients who paid excessive cancellation fees after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear its appeal, the telecommunication giant now faces another potentially costly legal battle after Quebec Superior Court authorized a class action over fee increases on internet, mobile, telephone, television services.
Joseph Frainetti, the class action’s representative plaintiff, alleges that Bell made unilateral changes to contracts without providing clear notifications beginning in April 2012. Frainetti maintains Bell infringed article 11.2 of the Quebec Consumer Protection Act by unilaterally increasing service charges and advising him of the changes in his monthly bill while his contract was in effect. Frainetti argues that under article 11.2 written notification of all fee increases during a contract must be provided at least 30 days before the changes go into effect.
A class action against an automobile manufacturer that was dismissed by a lower court was partially overturned by the Quebec Court of Appeal after it held that Mazda Canada Inc. failed to disclose “important information” to consumers in a timely manner.
Hailed as a victory for consumers, the appeal court’s decision bucks the nationwide growing trend against economic loss based tort claims, and serves a clear reminder to manufacturers that it is in their best interests to promptly inform consumers over “important facts” regarding their products and to fix products afflicted with latent defects expeditiously, according to consumer law experts.