The CRTC releases a new code of conduct
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission was working for months now on the new code of conduct after consulting both consumers and carriers.
"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," CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais said.
This new code will:
Make it easier for individual and small business customers to obtain and understand the information in their wireless service contracts;
Establish consumer-friendly business practices for the wireless service industry where necessary; and
Contribute to a more dynamic wireless market.
Earlier this year, we could read the first draft version of the code, but now it is time for confirmations!
Consumers will now be able to:
Terminate their wireless contracts after two years with no cancellation fees, even if they had a longer term contract.
Get a cap at no charge once national and international data roaming charges reach $100 within a single monthly billing cycle. As well, data overage charges will be suspended when they reach $50.
Have their devices unlocked, upon request, at the rate specified by the service provider, no later than 90 calendar days after the contract start date, or immediately if the device was paid in full.
Be offered a trial period lasting a minimum of 15 calendar days. Providing the user with the time needed to determine whether the service meets their needs and if it does not they can return the device.
To refuse or consent to any change in the key contract terms and conditions of a postpaid wireless contract during the commitment period. The service provider must notify and get approval from the customer. As an exception, a service provider may only change a key contract term or condition during the commitment period without the customer’s express consent if it clearly benefits the customer.
- A service provider must ensure that its written contracts and related documents are written in a way that is clear and easy for customers to read and understand.
The Code applies to all wireless services, whether purchased on a stand-alone basis or as part of a bundle, and whether purchased in person, online, or over the phone. All service providers must comply with the Code.
In Europe as in the USA, two years mobile contracts are now standard, which probably explains why users abroad use more phones and replace them more often than in Canada.
"What we were concerned about was [...] that people didn't feel entrapped in their contracts when they want to maybe use the offer of a new entrant or a competitor across the street", Blais said. "So, it really is about freeing up Canadians to choose either to stay with their current carrier, under renegotiated terms, or go to a competitor."
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