CRTC asked to create standards for phone contracts
Canada’s telecom giants want a national set of standards to govern
cellphone contracts, saying emerging provincial legislation amounts to a
patchwork that would not protect consumers in all parts of the country.
BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp. along with the
Public Interest Advocacy Centre have called on the telecom regulator to
craft a federal consumer protection code that would apply to all mobile
device customers in Canada.
Several provinces have enacted or announced legislation to govern
wireless contracts, with Nova Scotia proposing that cancellation fees be
capped and customers informed of any changes that would increase their
Ontario has tabled the Wireless Services Agreement Act requiring that
wireless contracts spell out which services are included in the basic
fee, and which cost extra.
Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti, who sponsored the proposed law,
said Canadians “are being gouged” when it comes to their mobile phone
The Ontario bill would cap cancellation fees, force service providers to
detail all-inclusive pricing in their marketing, and prohibit service
fee charges while a device is repaired under warranty.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has
asked for submissions as it mulls whether it needs to create standards
to protect wireless service customers.
Along with the major telecoms and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre on
behalf of the Consumers’ Association of Canada and Canada without
Poverty, Canada’s largest telecommunications union has also submitted a
brief to the CRTC.
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada says in its
submission to the CRTC’s Telecom Notice of Consultation that consumers
are out of pocket as much $4 billion due to the lack of national
standards governing wireless contracts.
“There is more wireless competition in Canada now than there has ever
been, yet prices have not dropped and services are not improving,” the
union said in its submission.