National code will set out standards for wireless contracts, which have been the source of endless complaints from subscribers
“Our goal is to make sure that Canadians have the tools they need to make informed choices in a competitive marketplace,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television Commission (CRTC).
“In the past, Canadians have told us that contracts are confusing, and that terms and conditions can vary greatly from one company to another. We are asking them to assist us in developing a code that will help them better understand their rights as consumers and the responsibilities of wireless companies.”
John Lawford, counsel for the Public Interest Advoacy Centre (PIAC) made that point in approving the CRTC’s move. “There’s a lot of things people can control for (in a code) including the clarity of their contracts and termination penalties that will make a huge difference” to subscribers, he said.
The commission set out a suggested list of things a code could demand be part of a wireless contract, including that it
–be written in plain language;
– include conditions under which a service provider may amend contract terms;
–cover the conditions under which consumers may terminate their mobile wireless contracts early, including how cancellation fees may be applied;
–ensure advertised prices for services – including data and roaming– be clear in contracts, including provisions that service providers may not charge consumers for optional mobile wireless services they have not ordered;
–guarantee that the code applies equally to mobile wireless services purchased separately or as part of a bundle of telecommunications and broadcasting distribution services;
–state clearly the conditions under which a provider must notify customers that they have exceeded the limits of their service agreements and will incur additional fees, and
a provision that consumers with capped or metered billing of mobile wireless services be provided with adequate tools to monitor usage;
–showhow service providers must disclose, and notify customers of amendments to, their privacy policies;
–show how service providers disclose hardware warranty policies and extended warranty policies, including how service charges will apply while the handset is being repaired, and the conditions under which a handset may be unlocked;
– a provision that addresses how service charges and contract terms will be applied if the customer’s handset is lost or stolen;
– a provision that addresses the conditions under which a service provider may request a security deposit;
–and clearly state the conditions under which a service provider may disconnect mobile wireless services.
Consumers can submit their options to the CRTC online or in writing by Nov. 20.Related Download
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