Quebecer seeking to sue Netflix

MONTREAL — A Quebec man wants millions in compensation from Netflix on behalf of subscribers in the province, alleging the company violated strict consumer rights rules when it upped their fees.

The class action document filed in Quebec Superior Court earlier this month seeks permission to sue the popular video streaming service for allegedly charging higher fees unilaterally.

“They had to send a notice which mentions exclusively the rate that the people were paying and the new rate,” said lawyer Pierre Boivin, who represents the consumers.

“They also have to mention that the consumer would have 30 days to cancel the contract if they don’t agree with this increase, and that’s not what Netflix sent. They did not respect this provision of the Consumer Protection Act.”

Boivin’s Montreal law firm, Kugler Kandestin, is acting on behalf of Frederic Seigneur and other Quebecers — an estimated 1.45 million subscribers in the province.

The action has not yet been given the go-ahead by a judge, but Boivin said he hopes to have it in a few months time.

A public relations firm that deals with the company said Thursday that Netflix does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Earlier this month, it announced it was hiking prices for new members, effective immediately, and would do the same for existing users after notifying them by email in the coming weeks.

Netflix has invested heavily in producing its own original content in recent years, including “House of Cards,” “Ozark” and in a slate of feature films bought at international film festivals.

The Quebec suit would extend to any rate hike by Netflix since Aug. 11, 2014, and Boivin said there appears to have been just one, in 2016.

Because the suit argues on the basis of Quebec legislation, other Canadian users are exempted, he said, adding Quebec subscribers wouldn’t have to do anything to take part in the suit.

The class action seeks a reimbursement of the fees paid since the 2016 hike — $1 to $2 a month depending on the subscription.

Boivin said that works out to roughly $14 million as of now, with lawyers seeking an additional $7.5 million in punitive damages.

“When a company wants to do business in Quebec, it must minimally respect the law — in this case, the Consumer Protection Act,” he said. “They had to send a notice of the rate hike, which we argue they did not do.”

Just Posted

WATCH: A Russian new year party in Red Deer

Hundreds fill the G.H. Dawe Community Centre for the 10th Russian Children’s New Year Party

Car hits moose north of Red Deer, driver in hospital with life threatening injuries

One person was airlifted to hospital, and another taken by ambulance after… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Ten Thousand Villages to close in 2018

This will be the last Christmas for Red Deer’s Ten Thousand Villages.… Continue reading

Celestial light show can be seen over Red Deer this week

Local students stay up to watch the meteor shower

Businesses to gather to talk about crime

Red Deer Downtown Business Association understands challenges

Watch: Man plays flaming bagpipes while riding a unicycle in a ‘Star Wars’ costume

The sight of Darth Vader, riding a unicycle and playing flaming bagpipes,… Continue reading

Dying man’s wish to see new ‘Star Wars’ movie coming true

A dying man’s wish to see the new “Star Wars” movie is… Continue reading

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Trudeaus, Mulroneys, Erdem? Canadians who could snag a royal wedding invite

Save the date. Kensington Palace announced Friday that Prince Harry and Meghan… Continue reading

More to be done to ensure timely justice, retiring Beverley McLachlin says

Canada’s retiring top judge says more must be done to ensure the… Continue reading

Labrador mayor who was shot in face in hunting accident has died

John Hickey accidently shot himself while checking rabbit snares

Shelter dogs could go vegan in Los Angeles

Los Angeles may soon be home to a lot more vegan dogs.… Continue reading

The coolest way to serve coffee at dinner’s end

I can put together a decent dinner party. But when it comes… Continue reading

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

One of the thousands of firefighters battling a series of wildfires across… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month