Over the past few years financial institutions and companies in
other perceived "deep pocket" industries, like
telecommunications, have become targets for class actions in regard
to fees charged that are alleged to have not been adequately
disclosed. Many of these claims have been grounded in breach of
contract and/or breach of consumer protection legislation. Most of
these claims have been certified.
In the recently released decision of Finkel v. Coast Capital
Savings Credit Union,1 the British Columbia Supreme
Court certified an action seeking damages from Coast Capital in
relation to undisclosed foreign currency charges. The plaintiff
alleges that Coast Capital charged undisclosed surcharges to its
members who made foreign currency withdrawals from their personal
Coast Capital accounts through ATMs on the Plus System or the
Cirrus System outside of Canada. The plaintiff alleges that in so
doing, Coast Capital breached its standard form personal account
contracts, engaged in "deceptive acts or practices"
contrary to the British Columbia Business Practices and
Consumer Protection Act, and breached s. 52 of the federal
Competition Act, which prohibits "knowingly or
recklessly making a representation to the public that is false or
misleading in a material respect".
In its reasons, the court noted that despite the fact that s.
171 of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act
requires a plaintiff to show that he or she suffered loss or damage
"due to" a contravention of the Act in order to claim for
damages under that section, a plaintiff need not prove reliance
"[w]here the alleged contravention involves a wrongful
overcharge contrary to a term of a contract".
The court made this finding despite the fact that other courts
had found reliance was required for damages under section 171 of
the Act. Going against the grain, the court in Finkel held
that whether reliance is required "depends on the nature of
the alleged contravention"; in fee disclosure cases, the fact
of the unauthorized overcharge causally links the breach to the
plaintiff's loss, thereby removing the requirement to show or
For undisclosed fee cases, the weight of authority remains in
favour of certification, and, now, even lower pleading standards
for damages claims under the Business Practices and Consumer
Protection Act related to the claims of inadequate fee
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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