Fewer Phone Fools as of April 1

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Ontario’s wireless and cell phone consumers now have a right to clearer information and fewer surprises when they enter into cell phone and wireless services contracts.

 

The Wireless Services Agreement Act protects wireless customers by requiring that:

  • Contracts must be written in plain language
  • Contracts must clearly outline which services come with the basic fee and which would result in extra charges for the consumer
  • Wireless services providers must get customer consent before amending, renewing or extending a fixed-term contract
  • Consumers pay less to cancel their contracts

The act applies to new contracts, as well as existing contracts that are amended, renewed or extended as of April 1, 2014.

Consumers who did not get a subsidized item or an item at no charge — for example, a free cellphone — when they signed the contract, can’t be charged a cancellation fee when they cancel a no-term, month-to-month contract.

More information is available from the Ministry of Consumer Services.

Fun Phone Facts:

  • Approximately eight out of 10 Ontario families have a wireless services agreement
  • Overall complaints to the federal Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services have more than tripled over the past four years
  • The province recently launched Consumer Protection Ontario, an awareness program that offers information on consumer rights and public safety, and encourages consumers to ask the right questions before they make a purchasing decision

 

Minister of Consumer Services Tracy MacCharles said the legislation gives consumers more transparent choices. “Ontario has enshrined the rights of cell phone, smartphone and tablet users in legislation – not a code. We have responded to consumers and given them a law to ensure clarity in cell phone and wireless contracts, more choices, and transparent prices.”

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