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Consumers get more control of their Wireless as Consumer Code comes into Force

OTTAWA – Canadians will now have more control over their wireless services than before, thanks to the new Wireless Code – which becomes effective today – said consumer rights group the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) created the Code after an extensive hearing that saw the telecommunications industry, consumer groups, governments and thousands of consumers come together to agree on a baseline set of consumer protection principles for wireless services. For years PIAC has advocated for more protection for Canadian wireless consumers from abusive billing practices and oppressive contract terms.

“We are pleased that the Wireless Code has finally come into force and we trust consumers will enjoy the benefit of the new rules as they shop for, compare and use their wireless services,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC.

The Wireless Code has many clear consumer benefits. The Code:

•limits the amount wireless companies can charge their customers for roaming to $100 a month and their data overage charges to $50 unless the customer expressly agrees to pay more; it requires clear contract language;
•requires wireless companies to reduce the cost of contract cancellation, even when a phone or other handset has been provided at a discount, to zero after 2 years or to at most $50 where no handset has been provided;
•allows Canadians to unlock their mobile phones within ninety days of obtaining them – enabling Canadians to switch from one service provider to another more easily or to replace their “SIM” card with that of a foreign wireless carrier when travelling.

“We encourage all Canadians to become familiar with their basic rights, and to make sure their service providers respect the rights expressed in the Wireless Code,” added Lawford. He further noted that companies that do not respect consumer rights under the Wireless Code are subject to complaints before the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, a free, industry-run ombudsman service overseen by the CRTC.

Link to the CRTC’s Wireless Code of Conduct: Wireless Code of Conduct

Link to the CCTS: Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services

For more information please contact:

John Lawford
Executive Director
Public Interest Advocacy Centre

(613) 562-4002×25
(613) 447-8125 (cell)
jlawford@piac.ca

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