Enmax hit with class action lawsuit
Posted: Apr 27, 2011 10:12 AM MT
Last Updated: Apr 27, 2011 10:23 AM MT
A $30-million class action lawsuit has been filed against Enmax, alleging the city-owned utility has breached consumer protection legislation by overcharging people who have been late paying their bills.
On Enmax's utility bills, it states that late payments are subject to a 3.25 per cent monthly fee, which adds up to more than 40 per cent a year.
Under the federal Interest Act, companies can only charge five per cent annually unless they clearly state their annual interest charge.
In its statement of defence, Enmax rejects the lawsuit as frivolous. It says it charges a late payment fee, not interest, so it's not subject to the Interest Act.
But Lawyer Robert Hawkes wants a judge to order Enmax to refund millions of dollars that it shouldn't have collected, likely much of it from economically vulnerable customers.
"The very folks who end up not paying their account in time either because they can't afford to, or they perhaps haven't managed their monthly bills, are the very people who end up paying these charges. And so it's not people in our society who are more well off who usually end up paying these charges, it's usually the people who can least afford it."
None of the allegations have been heard, or proven, in court.