Ontario proposes new consumer-friendly bill for wireless contracts
April 26, 2013
|TORONTO – The Ontario government announced today it is proposing legislation that would make cell phone and wireless service contracts easier for consumers to understand.
The proposed legislation, if passed, would require wireless carriers’ contracts to be written in plain language that clearly outlines which services come with the basic fee, and which would result in a higher bill. It would also require providers to get consent from the consumer before amending, renewing or extending a fixed-term contract. In addition, the legislation would enforce a cap on cancellation fees to make it less costly for consumers to walk away from fixed-term contracts.
“Ontario consumers want easy to understand cell phone and wireless contracts with no hidden costs. We want to remove the confusion and frustration that come with unclear contracts. Our proposed legislation, if passed, would be backed by meaningful enforcement so that consumers are better protected,” said Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Consumer Services, in a statement.
“Millions of Ontarians subscribe to wireless phone servicesand they want fair and transparent contracts. The Consumers Council of Canada is pleased that the government is putting the onus on wireless services providers to comply and meet consumer needs,” added Ken Whitehurst, executive director of the Consumers Council of Canada.
Several provinces have already passed their own wireless consumer protection laws. The CRTC is currently deliberating on a code of conduct for wireless companies. The Commission released its draft of the wireless code in January and several carriers and consumer groups weighed in with their submissions during a week of hearings in February. The Commission’s final decision is not expected until the summer.