Update: Bell and Virgin make changes to their cancellation fees, will now have “one consistent national policy”

Ian Hardy

February 9, 2013 4:05 pm


Similar to Rogers and TELUS, Bell will have “one consistent national policy” for their service agreements starting February 10th, 2013 – basically a new cancellation fee structure. According to the internal doc we received it states that “As part of continued efforts to enhance the customer experience, the calculation of the Service Agreement Price Adjustment (SAPA) will align nationally with the calculation already in place in Quebec and Manitoba.”

This “national policy” is on a similar track as Bill 60 in Quebec and Bill 35 in Manitoba that sees a customer pay out a calculated amount based on the number of months remaining on their contract. Rogers and TELUS adopted this structure and depending on the carrier there might be a fee attached. For example, Rogers has a “Service Deactivation Fee” that’s $12.50 on top of the charges. Taking a look a the Bell doc reveals there’s no additional fee, just a basic per month calculation.

Here’s how the breakdown looks:

1. Total device credits provided at time of activation
2. Divide this amount by the total number of months in the term
3. Multiply this amount by the number of months left in the term to determine the SAPA.

Bell gave the example of a “customer received $250 in total device credits upon activation, and is cancelling their service 15 months into their 36 month term. Their SAPA would be $250 divided by 36 months (term duration), multiplied by 21 months (number of months remaining) = $145.82.”

In addition, for those customers that opted out of a subsidy but activated on monthly contract Bell notes that the “SAPA is 10% of their monthly recurring charges (MRC), multiplied by the number of months remaining (to a maximum of $50).”

Certainly a step in the right direction. Looks like the pending CRTC Wireless Code is making carriers listen to their customers and make the appropriate changes. Again, this new Bell policy goes into effect on February 10th.

Update: We’ve been informed that these changes will also be implemented at Virgin Mobile on February 10th. Virgin’s changes impact their “Early Exit Charge” (EEC) and according to their doc is the following: “Early Exit Charge = (Total Hardware Credits / Total Months In Term) x Remaining Months in Term”

In addition, a couple point to make note of:
“Existing Membership Agreements activated prior to February 10th, 2013 are not affected by this change. Only new Membership Agreements (both new activations and upgrades) entered into on February 10th, 2013 or after are affected by these changes.

(Thanks tipsters!)

  • Wayne Arsenault

    “This “national policy” is on a similar track as Bill 60 in Quebec and Bill 35 in Manitoba that sees a customer pay out $20/month for each remaining month on their contract”
    This is actually incorrect as it describes how the cancellation fees worked prior to Manitoba and Quebec’s legislation as well as how the cancelation fees were at Rogers prior to changing their policy.

    • BAN 3 Yr Contracts

      So you could get a phone from the big 3 (on a minimum $50 to get a lower price) ON A 3Yr Contract!

      Then you get a phone full of bloatware and with the slowest upgrades (Android has to release it, then the manufacturer has to approve it and then your Carrier has to “Test it”) then for $30 -$50 they can do you the favour of unlocking it.

      -Or you can get a Nexus, yes please!

      -Shop for the best PLAN not for the cheapest PHONE people!

    • Ron Mexico

      I’m not sure I really get it. Is this a good change?

  • T

    Turn the denominator to 24 (fairly) and we’ll talk

    • Hub

      Given that 24 is when they allow the hardware renewal, it would be fair, indeed.

    • Jon

      Addition: Get Rogers to drop their stinking $12.50 “Service Deactivation Fee”, and let’s not forget Telus with their four-times-higher $50.00 “admin fee” when you deactivate their service. Then let’s talk.

      Actually, Bell’s not going scot-free on this one either with their “30 Days Notice of Cancellation”. Yeah, let’s charge these chumps extra month for leaving us, derp /s. So all in all, Bell’s 3-year contract is actually 37-months contract. Oh my.

  • Shushwap

    Step in the right direction

  • lukeiphone

    So someone who signed the contract in 2011 will also be eligible in this cancellation policy?

    • Josh

      I want to know that too.

    • Rio

      Nope, it’s only for new contracts.

      They can’t change the contract you signed.

    • Carlo

      Rio, you are correct when it comes to changes that benefit the customer, but when it comes to changes that benefit Bell, their lawyers have made sure they can do it.

      I was in the middle of my contract when Bell did this to me. I tried to argue that I should be allowed to cancel the contract they told me my only two options were to either pay their termination fee, or ride out the remaining time on my contract.

  • Josh

    Is this for new activations only, or will it help people currently stuck in a Bell contract?

  • Matt Z10

    I would feel safe to assume it will be for new activations after the 10th of feb. All other activations will be on the old policy. It was this way with Rogers and with Telus

  • Brayden

    Only applicable for new contracts. Old contracts are legal binding according to their TOS, and unfortunately you are SOL.

    Virgin is doing the same. Live tomorrow.

  • dizzle

    same crooks different plays. may these corporates bleed to death in their own greed

  • Phox

    It is a double edged sword. If you stay the 3 years, you didn’t have to pay for a phone… Would you prefer to pay 700 for an iphone or 180?

    • TIME OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      3 year contracts should be banned. End of story.
      No other country has 3 year contracts.

    • BAN 3 Yr Contracts

      Actually iphones are never Free; they always charge you even if you are committing to min $50 for 36 months.

      Then you will get your iphone and because it won’t last you THREE YRS you will pay again and resign for another three yrs. The operators are counting on this!

    • Randy – 1

      Why does it have to be all or nothing? Especially when the discount you get on monthly fees (if any at all) for buying your phone outright is a pittance.

      Why not give customers the option of paying ~$300 for a 24 month contract if they so choose? They’d still be collecting more on hardware than most anywhere else in the world.

  • BAN 3 Yr Contracts

    The issue with 3 yr contracts is:
    EVERY COUNTRY in the world operates on two yr MAX
    THE MOBILE industry operates on two yr cycles.
    Canadian operator offer ONE yr warranty
    How many people do you know with a 3 yr phone?: ie phones won’t last you 3 yrs; the 3 yr contract offers $100 of subsidy (its not even present on the big 3s anymore) and as per this article; the idea is to get you to pay -the remaining balance and to sign AGAIN on 3 yr contracts.

    E-slavery!

    • hmmmmm

      A correction to the warranty. the provider has nothing to do with warranty. Its the manufacturer.

  • BS Detector

    Just buy a nexus 4 and get a prepaid plan.

  • Brayden

    Ok, I just want to make a point. With prorated contracts, we are in many cases getting cheaper phones than our US counterpart.. With the exception of iPhone. But look at the S3 for example, its 200 there (like AT&T for example), 0 here often. What’s the difference in paying 200 on a 2 year or 0 on a 3 year when the ETF is prorated?

    • Randy – 1

      You’re comparing a promo price in Canada with the regular price in the US. That’s the point so many people disregard. The US has sales as well. It’s the same way people say “yes, it’s a 3 year contract, but I’m eligible for an upgrade 24-30 months in”. True, and in the US on a 2 year contract you’re eligible for an upgrade 18 months in.

      On release, the SIII was $160 in Canada on a 3 year, $200 in the US on a 2 year. Canadian carriers have dropped their regular price down to $100 recently, no doubt AT&T et al will likely drop theirs soon as well.

      Again I ask, why not give us the option? Why not give me the option to pay $100 more up front for my phone on a 2 year contract? Why must it be 3 year or nothing?

  • 0defaced

    so let me ask then….

    what happens to the joe blow who goes somewhere like Wireless Wave who are known to take the $0 pricing Rogers/Bell/Fido give them, being ISC (in store credit) they spin it into free car chargers/memory cards/cases/etc…..so the price of say….$149 on the phone, was paid upfront.

    would joes bill not reflect the device pricing through the rates set by the provider, or would it encompass the consumer paying out of pocket when he wasn’t supposed to in the first place?

    Think about it kids…..if Rogers says “this phone is $0 at activation”, and WW changes the amount the customer has to pay, they aren’t liable at all……does that mean Rogers won’t recognize the amount that was paid upfront?

    • T

      I don’t think corporate is aware of what the independents are doing, hence why they are called independent. Going to a corporate store or having them ship a phone are other options. Have to be a smart shopper!

    • 0defaced

      yeah…..see really this is a big issue as well: DEALER STORES NEED TO CLOSE THE F**K DOWN.

      admittedly i’d go to a corporate store, but i know more than a lot of my friends/fam/peers/etc about cell phones. most won’t bother, as to them you SHOULD be able to get exactly the same product at every store with the same name.

    • Gary

      I used to work at WirelessWave.

      ISC was independent of phone price. With that ISC we could choose to put it towards the phone, towards accessories, or warranty plans. Think of an ISC as an extra incentive to shop at WW: you can get a cheaper phone or accessories (depending on the ISC amount), and at the Rogers/Bell/whatever stores you have to purchase them full price.

      After working there, I realized that if I was to go to the major carriers again, WW is the only way to go.

    • hmmmmm

      so let me ask then….

      what happens to the joe blow who goes somewhere like Wireless Wave who are known to take the $0 pricing Rogers/Bell/Fido give them, being ISC (in store credit) they spin it into free car chargers/memory cards/cases/etc…..so the price of say….$149 on the phone, was paid upfront.

      Usually the phone is 149 in store at rogers as well. WW will still have the isc.

      ***So, your cancellation fee will still be retail $ – Instore $ devided by the amt of months remaining.

      would joes bill not reflect the device pricing through the rates set by the provider, or would it encompass the consumer paying out of pocket when he wasn’t supposed to in the first place?

      ***Joe Pays the price set by the provider. price in store is irrelevant.

      Think about it kids…..if Rogers says “this phone is $0 at activation”, and WW changes the amount the customer has to pay, they aren’t liable at all……does that mean Rogers won’t recognize the amount that was paid upfront?

      ****Price in store is still irrelevant, what ever it says in the aggreement/contract is what you owe.

  • LugNutsMcGruff

    Or….

    Maybe people can stop purchasing subsidized phones and simply buy service ala carte and then you won’t have to worry about what Bhell/Robbers/Helus’s cancelation policy is or isn’t.

    The freedom of month to month service, (prepaid or postpaid), is something you frankly can’t put a price on.

    • Rio

      Not everyone can afford a 700$ phone and monthly fees.

    • bob

      If you can’t afford a $700 phone then don’t buy a $700 phone.
      It’s not as if you could afford it any more on a monthly plan anyways.
      If you need money contact your bank and get a loan. Robellus should stick to what they really are: dumb pipes providing wireless access to the internet. They shouldn’t even sell phones.

    • Bob

      I got the galaxy nexus for 0$ at bestbuy I also got 200$ in gift cards and 1 free month of service worth $65 after tax!! There would have also been a 35$ activation had I nor signed a contract.

      I saved 300$ and have a killer plan that can not be beat in Canada as I travel all over the country for work!! The buy out is 350$ on a 2 year contract, only a fool would have paid full price. After 4 months of service I will have saved more then the cancelation fee and have a free galaxy nexus!! Paying full price is not worth it unless you are planning on using wind or prepaid!

  • screamer

    I don’t mind three year contacts if they have a good deal. Let’s say 25 $ unlimited everything and a top phone for free. Pricing is a bigger problem. Almost every phone is set least 100 $ plus 55 $ a month. Makes more than 2000 $ for a phone! Doesn’t work for me. Wait always for a deal at eBay!

    • Brayden

      So you want a $700 phone for free on a $25 plan? Let me guess, you want to be able to upgrade after 2 years too?

  • Manny

    The way I see it, I personally don’t have an issue with 3 year contracts because it’s simply paying for the device up front (nowadays). Before I had an issue with it because it was completely upside down, you’d be with a provider for 2 years and wanted to leave and they still wanted 500 for you to cancel your contract, it was unreasonable. The way it works now they basically front you the money or a part of it so you can get the phone you want, you want to leave, fine, just pay us what you owe us for the phone + 12.50 (in the case of Rogers) and you can go anywhere you want. That to me is a lot more fair. Phones aren’t free for the providers, they’re not free for anyone, if you buy it outright and then take the service, you’re not doing yourself any favors in some cases. In the case of Rogers for example, if you bring your own phone you don’t get the plan any cheaper than if you got a phone from them so it makes no difference. If you however, take a phone, you’re actually on top. Here’s my example. At the moment, my plan is 60 bucks a month, unlimited everything including CID, VM + 3GB of data. Personally I don’t think I have a bad plan. They subsidized an iphone 4 for me back in the day which I’m supposedly still paying off. If I wanted to leave I’d have to pay about 150 bucks at this point, this would put me back to 0 and make me fully eligible. Every month I keep my plan, that 150 goes down.

    So let’s take the iPhone 5 as an example:

    Unsubsidized Price – 699.99
    Subsidy – 520
    Your Price – 179.99

    So Rogers is subsidizing 520.00 they’re basically giving you credit for 520. That 520 bucks will be broken down over 36 months so (520 / 36 = 14.44) So every month while my bill comes out to 60.00 plus tax, I’m only really paying 45.56 for the actual service and the other portion is going to pay for the phone which I think is pretty cheap.

    Here’s where I have a bit of an issue. In the above example, whether I take a phone or not, my monthly bill is not impacted, but it should be. If I brought my own phone to Rogers, because they don’t have to give me a subsidy, why wouldn’t they discount the plan. Say, ok sir, you brought your phone, then your plan is 50.00 per month or 45 or whatever, if you need a phone then we”ll tack it on to the price of your monthly plan since you have to pay for your phone. So you bring your phone, you pay less for service, nothing to subsidize, you need a phone, they’ll give it to you but you pay a little more for the service since now the they’re also paying for the phone.

    I know I’ve rambled on and I apologize, but this is the way I see it, not sure how many of you have the same view on this situation.

    • jack

      why would they give u a discount? a person who brought a rogers phone vs a person who brought their own phone is using the exact service, why would it be cheaper

    • 0defaced

      Jack….you can NOT possibly be this stupid….

    • JP

      Jack, some carriers already do that. I know for certain Koodo will give you 10% off your plan if you come with your own phone, I believe Virgin does as well.

  • Kanye’s sock

    how come everyone seems to forget that in the 3 years you’re not just paying for the phone but the service as well.

    Nothing makes ppl happy on this site unless its EVERYTHING for next to no cost.

    good luck with that

  • Donald

    Well, that sucks.

    I signed a contract for a z10, and my cancellation fee is $660 if I cancel right now. With this, it’d be $510. Also, with this setup the contract isn’t front loaded. For the next 16 months, my cancellation fee goes down by $7, then $27/month. With this, it would go down by $14 the whole time.

    Oh well, I don’t actually see myself canceling anytime in the next 3 years anyway. I have a very good plan. I’d take this plan even if it didn’t have a contact subsidy.

    • Abel

      Donald,

      Cancel the contract you just signed (14 days buyer’s remorse) and sign another one when the new policy is in effect.

    • JC Denton

      You bought a Z10? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, sucker

  • screamer

    Brayden the iPhone 5 is around 240 $ to produce and shipped. So if I pay 25 $ for 36 month that’s enough. I wouldn’t upgrade after two years because you are on contract. In Germany they have unlimited plans for 25 $ without a contract. But you have to bring your own phone so sign a contract should give you a phone.

    • jack

      so funny when people keep saying a random number for a phone to be “produced and shipped”. as if the technology (research) of the phone and the man power needed to create it etc is absolutely free and comes out of thin air.

    • Carlo

      So screamer, are you camped out in front of 1 Infinity Loop demanding that Apple sell all their products at cost? Funny how you believe when an analyst or tech site says it costs $240 to produce an iPhone, but then they say that it costs Samsung twice that to produce the SIII even though it has comparable components.

  • Manny

    @Jack

    why would they give u a discount? a person who brought a rogers phone vs a person who brought their own phone is using the exact service, why would it be cheaper

    Because in your monthly fee you’re paying for both service + a portion for the phone. If there’s no phone to subsidize then you should see a small savings. Think about it, if you show up to Rogers with an unlocked phone looking for service, they charge you 60.00, Rogers has nothing to subsidize, then they give a phone to the next guy and charge him 60.00 bucks, wouldn’t you think that’s unfair? You had to pay for your phone at some point, this person is having to pay for it now, same thing. So why wouldn’t you get a small discount since Rogers does not have to give you a credit so you can get your phone, then monthly discount a portion to help pay it.

    • dmyster

      well said. I agree completely. They should separate the subsidy from the plan. Then people can see on their bill what they are paying for. If they bring their own phone then the subsidy will not exist on their bill giving them some sort of savings. They way it is now just forces people to get phones from the carriers since there is no savings to be had bringing their own phone.

  • jplunks

    you guys are lame. you know with Bell they give you 10% off your bill for the 12 months and Rogers gives you $10 of your plan until you decide to upgrade to a new phone. Then again you would probably just wine about still getting the discount. Don’t get me wrong I don’t like paying high bills but this is a company much like your parents or families small business. Are they open and service there customers for the customers benefit or is it for profit? They lower there rates or offer a extra incentive due to COMPETITION. Go to wind or Mobilicity and deal with how they give out there sell phone. Ask about there cancellation and monthly fees

  • Happy

    Thank God, I don’t have to deal with these kind problems because I’m with Wind. Since I joined Wind, I’m having a better sleep, my meals taste better and digest properly hence better health. Damn! My wrinkles are gone without any treatment. No more fight with my wife regarding the cellphone bill. So folks, if you want peace at home and better health for every one, go for wind.

    • ToniCipriani

      I think you have bigger problems to deal with.

  • Corey

    The biggest thing people forget is once the phones are separated from your contract you can shop around for the phones. If you think the price on the phone hardware your getting from the carries is a good deal I have some ocean front property in Alberta for you. Once things get opened up you end up buying the hardware just like any other electronic device, then all the stores will compete on price. Look at the example of how a $600 phone shouldn’t cost the same 2 years later?

    • ToniCipriani

      Issue is most people are conditioned to think phones are always free, and the usual “you’re not switching provider anyways” people.

  • ToniCipriani

    I actually don’t understand this one:

    “In addition, for those customers that opted out of a subsidy but activated on monthly contract Bell notes that the “SAPA is 10% of their monthly recurring charges (MRC), multiplied by the number of months remaining (to a maximum of $50).””

    So if I BYOD on a new monthly service agreement, what’s this “number of months remaining” thing? I would assume this is just on a 30-day term.

  • Brandon

    Now if they will make it so I will upgrade whenever, I will be happy…until then I dont care

    • Brayden

      You can… By paying the early exit charge.

  • bb

    phones should b sold through the manufactures they way google does..phones sold through carriers should b sold unlocked and at a maximum 20% mark up! F*** THESE CONTRACTS!!! for ppl that say they cant afford these phones if contracts subsidy were eliminated they would find a way to buy them..do ppl get a subsidized tv for signing up with cables services!!!! come on this BS has to stop! and then we”ll more competitive priced plans from these carriers

  • bb

    where did cell phone contracts come from?? its such a scam!! do ppl get subsudized TV’S wen signing up for cable services!! come on these contracts got to stop and ppl just buy there phones…for those who say they cant afford these phones if the subsidy option was eliminated ppl would just start charging them on credit cards like everything else plain and simple..phones should also b sold unlocked through the manufacture like google does..and phones sold through carriers should also b sold unlocked and would b sold at a more fair price to get ppl buying these phones more often..i know if this happened better pricing on plans and phones would b a reality and would benefit everyone including carriers too because they will b forced to offer better plans and ppl will be less likely to switch companies as often

  • Nathen

    Before you ALL post Negative comment’s toward Bell,Rogers,Telus ect…. PLEASE LOOK IN THE MIRROR !!

    You people whom signed 3 yrs contracts just because you get a NEW Smartphone are the problem.

    BUY you phone if you want to STICK it them instead of complaining your getting screwed. And don’t give me the BS that you can’t afford it because your already spending your money on s**t you can’t afford on other crap.