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article imageCRTC announces new wireless rules for Canadians

By Elizabeth Parker     Jun 4, 2013 in Technology
Under the new wireless code set out by the CRTC, Canadians will be able to cancel their contracts after two years without penalty and data and roaming charges will have monthly caps.
The CRTC has finally come out with the terms for a new wireless code that will protect Canadian consumers. The code will take effect on all plans starting December 2, 2013, according to the CRTC announcement. The code is to address key areas of public concern as discussed in online forums, written letters and an open forum held in February 2013. Digital Journal reported on the concerns in December 2012.
The CRTC code addresses these key areas for consumers:
- no cancellation penalties after two years of a contract
- extra data charges will be capped at $50 per month
- international roaming charges will be capped at $100 per month
- cellphones will be unlocked immediately if purchased out right and after 90 days for all others
- when unhappy with service a cellphone will be able to be returned within 15 days and certain usage amounts
- if a contract is changed after beginning, Canadians will be able to accept or decline changes
- Canadians can expect to receive a clear and readable contract.
The full wireless code can be found on the CRTC site here.
The new rules have been been applauded by Canadian consumer groups as noted in The Star.
“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.”
Steve Anderson from the consumer watch dog group, Open Media is quoted in CBC News online .
"Hopefully, these rules will convince the companies to treat people with a little more respect," said Steve Anderson of consumer watchdog group Open Media.
The Globe and Mail notes the new rules are not retroactive. Under the new rules the cost of a hand set will be paid for in two years.
Under the new rules, which come into effect in early December and are not retroactive, anyone signing a contract would pay the full cost of their handset within two years. That would free them to either get a new device sooner, or take their current phone to a new company if they think they can get a better deal.
It is interesting to note, as reported in San Francisco Chronicle's, SF Gate, that on January 26, 2013, the Library of Congress announced it is illegal in the US to unlock a cellphone without a suppliers' permission. This has created an uproar and request for similar protection in the United States as noted on USA Today in March, and several other media sites through the United States. Most suppliers' claim they will continue to unlock phones when they are fully paid. As reported in the Huffington Post, AT&T claims they unlock phones now and will continue and that another law forcing it is not required.
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