Ontario Wireless Bill Aims to End Cellphone Bill “Horror Stories”

by Istvan Fekete on October 31, 2013

Cellphone bill “horror stories” could finally come to an end in Ontario, as the province will soon join three other provinces by passing a bill which aims to regulate telecoms in the area. The bill has passed the final vote and it is expected to take effect in the spring.

According to the new bill, wireless subscribers will be able to walk away from their contract after two years and won’t have to pay more than $50 in cancellation fees. This doesn’t mean, though, that they can keep their phones if they weren’t paid for in full or were provided free or at a discount.

Furthermore, wireless players will be forced to provide contracts in plain language, in which they will need to specify which service comes with the basic fee, and which come at additional cost. Additionally, companies will need to obtain consent from the user before altering the contract rather than simply informing them of the change.

In fact, the bill that has just passed the final vote has certain similarities to the CRTC’s code of conduct, but it also has strong differences. For instance, telcos have challenged a part of the code which allegedly would affect three-year cellphone contracts retroactively. The Ontario bill, on the other hand, is fending off this type of attack with a simple move: the rules won’t be applied retroactively, but if consumers change their contracts after the bill takes effect, it will be considered as a new contract and the new rules will apply.

Speaking with the Canadian Press, Consumer Services Minister, Tray MacCharles, highlighted that even she is having a hard time understanding her and her son’s cellphone contract terms.

She also highlighted that with this new bill Ontario aims to strengthen consumer confidence, “because when the consumers are confident, then that helps the marketplace, that helps the telecoms, that helps our economy,” she said.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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