Manitoba government introduces new rules for cellphone carriers

Ian Hardy

May 16, 2011 4:12 pm


Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh has announced that Manitoba will be seeing new cellphone law in 2012. The new rules follows the simplified structure that Quebec has in place and could save customers up to $640 a year. Mackintosh stated that “Manitobans have told us they are frustrated by high cancellation fees, unilateral changes to contract terms and prices, hidden charges and complex and unclear contracts. They have asked for greater fairness and the ability to make informed choices and this legislation will make that happen.”

There are seven ways the new law will protect customers (full list below) and if a company is found breaking the law they could be fined between $1,000 to $5,000 each time, or under the Consumer Protection Act could be fined upwards of $300,000:

-Allow cell phone customers to cancel contracts before the end of term;
- Prohibit unreasonable cancellation fees, while allowing cost recovery for equipment provided or subsidized as a contract incentive;
- Stop charges for service that can’t be accessed due to damaged or defective equipment, unless the customer is responsible;
- End unilateral amendments to a material element of a contract if the change doesn’t benefit the customer;
- Require the minimum monthly cost to be included in advertisements;
- Require companies to fully disclose and explain all charges and terms; and
-Limit automatic contract renewals.

Source: WFP
(Thanks Jason!)

  • Treatz

    Now it’s Ontario’s Turn

    • TomatoGuy

      Big 3 get a lot of revenue out of Ontario province. They will fight to death to keep things the same here for years to come.

  • bummy

    Rest of Canada needs to follow…

  • Ryan

    Take that BIG THREE! ROBELUS!

  • Ben

    Please let this apply to Ontario soon…

  • Xer

    I Mr. Mcgunity wants my vote this fall, he better his this thing pass in Ontario by then. Otherwise, I will wish him be out of office.

    • Joe

      McGuinty is still in office? Wow, he seems to resurface every 4 years then disappears again.

    • Kris

      engrish

  • aka

    There’s really nothing new, except for a couple of items, the list of laws is open to interpretation, there must be a more detailed written statement defining these laws clearly.

    “- Prohibit unreasonable cancellation fees, while allowing cost recovery for equipment provided or subsidized as a contract incentive;”

    Even if the country follows, there will still be people finding paying off their hardware subsidy “unreasonable”.

    “- Stop charges for service that can’t be accessed due to damaged or defective equipment, unless the customer is responsible;”

    So if I am a customer, I don’t feel like paying for next 3 months, I can call said carrier to say my phone is broken, don’t charge me until I have money in 3-months to get a replacement or get it fixed? How do you prove client’s responsibility?

    “- Require companies to fully disclose and explain all charges and terms;”

    Could the contract signed and agreed to override all the above or is superseded by the aforementioned set of laws?

    • Sid

      The law supercedes any contract.

  • Xer

    Where Tony Clement after the election? Vapourized in the universe?

    • abc123

      He’s busy going after the oil companies and how they set pump prices.

    • Xer

      Yes. I remembered now… I hope he will go after the big three after shooting down the gas firms.

    • BT

      Not much he can do other than make noise when it comes to consumer protection. That is Provincial jurisdiction, not Federal. The CRTC might be able to wade in on monthly pricing, but not on the other stuff like ETFs or contract changes.

  • Pizza Pocket

    Hope this happens in Ontario.

  • Terry

    If all the provinces move on laws like this, the feds may as well just adopt a updated national laws so it’s even across the board.

    Also
    “ending unilateral amendments to a material element of a contract if the change doesn’t benefit the customer;”

    What?

    • Doug

      That sounds like lawyer-speak meaning, they won’t increase the cost of your added features like call display or text messaging. Of course, I could be wrong. I’m no lawyer.

  • Harry

    Telus already does that today no need to wait until next and yes for all provinces not just quebec also FYI Winnipeg has the best prices for rate plans in all the country and the best network with the best phones

  • Tony Clement

    I’m not worried,I have free Wind Mobile service for life and a new BlackBerry every year.That trip to Cuba is going to be sweet and i love my job.It’s what you make of it of course.

  • Harry

    Also it must be said that these companies aren’t stupid you want to limit cancelations fees I’m gonna raise your monthly fees, I live in Quebec I buy my phones retail prices, I called my provider to renew with free features they refused because they’re no longer alowed to renew contracts without giving an insentive on a new phone hence making menhave to pay more monthly to get the same services I have been enjoying thank you consumers for not knowing what’s good for you

    • Jim R

      @Harry, by “free features” I take it you are referring to retention freebies. Since the vast majority of people don’t know how to avail themselves of retention freebies (unlike us, they don’t spend their time reading mobilesyrup and HoFo), I would argue that people like you are a small minority. As such, the change likely results in the greater good for the most amount of people.

      Also, a less than ideal work-around for those in your position is to take the contract, and then sell the phone. Yes, it’s a PITA, but you get your freebies plus some hard cash.

  • Dustin

    Tony Clement is useless when it comes to standing up for Canadians. Not at all surprised though.. He is conservative.

  • Jim R

    Still waiting for BC to start looking at this.

  • Bob

    dustin,,, go back to bed,, you a fool..

  • Jay

    @ TomatoGuy

    F**k the big three and their price gouging!!!!!!

  • Beavertail

    Just allow no-surprise, pay-one-price unlimited service…simple and no deception.

    • aka

      @ Beavertail

      Would you pay $120 per month for everything unlimited nationally for each cell phone you have in your family?

      Because that’s how much it cost in the States.

      Wanting unlimited everything when you don’t need it is like asking for a buffet dinner when you only need a burger combo lunch, on top of that you’re too cheap to pay for the burger combo, let alone the buffet dinner.

  • Brian

    “Limit automatic contract renewals.”

    Goodbye 50% of Rogers business. Want to change your plan? Great, here’s a new three year. And we won’t tell you about it, you don’t need to know those things, let us handle it!

  • Dave

    It Ain’t Gonna Happen in B.C.
    The corrupt liberal goverments + ROBELUS = SCUMSBAG

  • Dave

    @- Beavertail,
    People like you deserve to get ripped off, so be it.