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Canadians can cancel their wireless contracts after two years: CRTC

June 5, 2013 - All News

By MADHAVI ACHARYA-TOM YEW
Special to SAF
Canadians can cancel their wireless contracts without fees after two years under the new wireless code unveiled this week by the CRTC.
The wireless code also caps charges for extra data at $50 per month and charges for international data roaming at $100 per month to prevent bill shock, the CRTC said in a release.
The new rules by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will apply to new contracts for cellphones and other personal mobile devices starting Dec 2.
Consumer groups and observers were quick to applaud the much-anticipated changes.
“The Wireless Code has rules to help wireless customers where it counts — the bottom line,” John Lawford, executive director and general counsel at the Ottawa-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre said in a release. “It also makes it easier to switch companies because those costs are limited and are clear.”
“Every day, Canadians rely on wireless devices while in their homes, at their jobs, at school or travelling abroad,” Jean-Pierre Blais, chair of the CRTC, said in a release. “The wireless code will contribute to a more dynamic marketplace by making it possible for Canadians to discuss their needs with service providers at least every two years.”
The CRTC said that, among other things, individual and small business consumers will be able to:
• Terminate their wireless contracts after two years without cancellation fees, even if they have signed on for a longer term;
• Have their cellphones unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if they paid for the device in full;
• Return their cellphones within 15 days and specific usage limits, if they are unhappy with their service; and
• Accept or decline changes to the key terms of a fixed-term contract and receive a contract that is easy to read and understand.
“We didn’t focus on the length of the contract, we focused on the economic relation,” Blais said.
“So, in effect, it’s equivalent to those asking for a ban of three-year contracts without us actually banning three-year contracts, because what we’re saying is the contract’s amortization period can only be for a maximum period of 24 months.”
In the lead-up to public hearings held earlier this year, the CRTC said it heard a lot of angry comments about three-year contracts.
— Torstar News Service

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