Nova Scotia to adopt new cellphone contract policies May 1st

Ian Hardy

February 16, 2013 7:48 pm

novascotia
Back in April John MacDonell, Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister, proposed to bill to legislation that would help those wireless customers who “feel trapped in their cell phone contracts.” The details were similar to Quebec’s Bill 60 and Manitoba’s Bill 35 where carriers would have to advertise the minimum monthly costs of a wireless plan, plus cap the cancellation fees at $50.

Over the past few months several Canadian carriers have revised their wireless contracts to ensure they are easy to read and understand, plus some have axed the activation fee and reduced the high cancellation costs. However, on Friday, the province of Nova Scotia followed through on their commitment to the community and declared that cellphone contracts will be “fairer” effective May 1st.

According to the press release “The province is addressing Nova Scotians’ concerns about cellphone contracts with changes announced today, Feb. 15. The Consumer Protection Act regulates cellphone contracts and protects consumers who enter into, or renew, contracts beginning May 1.” The following changes will be implemented:

– Cellphone companies must provide more information about minimum monthly costs and include it in advertising.
– Providers will not be able to change major parts of a contract, including services, costs, fees or locations where the phone can be used, without consumers’ permission.
– Consumers will also be able to cancel their contract at any time.
– Nova Scotians who are unhappy with their service and decide to change providers could pay as little as $50 to cancel contracts.
– Consumers will still be responsible for buying out equipment if they cancel early.
– The amendments only apply to consumer contracts signed after the regulations come into effect May 1.
– Consumers are encouraged to be sure they understand contracts before signing.

Source: Nova Scotia
Via: CH
(Thanks Paul!)

  • Miguel

    A step in the right direction! Now for the other provinces to adopt these changes

    • ontarian

      packing my bag. im moving to this heaven.

    • james

      this same “Consumer Protection Act” saved me when rogers charged me $400 because they sold me false plan and i over used thinking my plan was something else.

    • Avoiding Banning of 3yr Contracts

      Does anybody see how all these “bill” and the CRTC are focusing on everything BUT making ILLEGAL the 3 yr contracts??

      If they “really” wanted to change thing a 2yr contract max, would help a lot in terms of making the Canadian industry more dynamic; helping new entrants like Window and Blackberry and people would have less problems/complaints against the operator.

      -I mean serioulsy: if the batteries last hardly a year and the operators take FOREVER to update the phones and they only give you ONE yr Warranty…how is it possible that selling a thing on a 3yr contract that won’t 2yr in 68% of the cases and wont last 3yr in 96% of the cases!

  • Mark

    A step in the right direction. I welcome this since I have a contract ending in November. Unfortunately the legislation is silent on 3 year contracts, and the CRTC chickened out on doing anything about them. We still have a long fight ahead of us, folks.

  • Paul

    You’re welcome! Hopefully it starts the ball rolling to make things better for consumers.

  • Khushwant Dhaliwal

    I hope Ontario Will also proposed this Bill i am feeling trapped but the cancellation cost is tooo HIGH. Please Please Proposed in Ontario :)

    • aliwhatsit

      brampton

  • Joe

    People will still complain about buying out the device because they want a steak dinner for the price of McDonald’s trio. So device subsidy + 50$, people are still going to complain

  • Alan

    If the cancellation fee is buyout + $50…why are people still complaining about 3 year contracts? A 2 year contract will just mean higher phone prices and/or higher monthly plans, with very little change in the cancellation fee, so who cares?

    • Thomas

      Not necessarily, in the US the prices are very similar to those of Canada. They are on the 2 year system. The Wireless providers are already gouging us why do they need more money. I also think the CRTC is to influenced by this companies to make a real good decision for the public.

    • Ivan

      Contract pricing is similar the world over under 2 or 3 year contracts. I’m sorry, but this is paranoid thinking not backed up by real world observation. Cell phone makers love shorter contracts because it means they sell more phones and are more than willing to help carriers out with great pricing in order to move more phones. Three year contracts are just lazy ways to lock customers into contracts, and allowing them larger profit margins than in countries with shorter terms because they don’t have to deal with people upgrading as often.

  • KAPT Kipper

    Where is the unlocking provision? The reasonably priced unlocking provision.

    • somethingisaid

      its called ebay

  • Lol

    @Alan, well regardless if its your “device balance” and a small fee. A 2 year differs from a 3 year in ways the company’s implement their hardware upgrade policy’s. Upgrade every 2.5yrs on a 3 year term…. Or upgrade every 1.5 on a 2 year?

  • MP

    TELUS already has the device subsidy + $50 cancellation policy anyway.

  • Arshad

    Reading this, from what I understand I believe as of recently, all the big 3 do this in terms of cancellation fees right now don’t they?
    TELUS: Device Balance + $50
    Rogers: Device Balance + $12.50
    Bell: Device Balance (Still Unsure ’cause it’s too good for Bell)

    Because according to the article, “- Nova Scotians who are unhappy with their service and decide to change providers could pay as little as $50 to cancel contracts.
    – Consumers will still be responsible for buying out equipment if they cancel early.”

    • Olerius

      Arshad has it right. All of the Big 3 (and their respective sister companies) employ Device Balance + cancellation fee (ranging from $0-$50, surprisingly $0 being Bell) in their current agreements. A lot of this rage against 3 year terms is from people who either don’t know about the current setup, or are still locked with pre-existing contracts with grandfathered cancellation fees.

  • yeah but

    Without a phone subsidy, cancelling an agreement in those provinces actually cost you up to 50$. In other provinces, 0$. One down side to these measures.

  • Plan Shopper

    “Nova Scotians who are unhappy with their service and decide to change providers could pay as little as $50 to cancel contracts”

    AS LITTLE AS $50?!?!?!

    So the least it will cost you to move is $50. That’s not very good for the consumers.

    • Andy

      Remember to pay your device balance too. Telus cancellation fee is $50, and Rogers cancellation fee is $12.50.

  • Sweet

    It’s good to see that they’re smart enough, like the CRTC, not to ban 3-year contracts and that it’s much better to get the carriers to offer additional contract choices so that consumers can then choose which contract choice suits them most.

    There are some people who do benefit from 3-year contracts. They should not be denied that benefit because someone else doesn’t want a 3-year contract.

    Besides, now that the tab concept seems to be proving successful, consumers would be better off if all contracts were banned — carriers could implement a tab program in order to offer phone subsidies.

    The only other option is to make it easy and cheap to terminate a contract. In that case, as Bell pointed out, the duration of the contract becomes irrelevant.

  • Thompson

    You people understand that everything is cheaper in the US right?

  • Manny

    In this regard I have to hand it to Rogers. With them it’s balance on subsidy + 12.50 can’t beat that, that’s why I don’t mind the 3 year contract, I think it’s fair that they just want the money back for the device they subsidized, if anything I think people in NS are getting shafted I’d be pretty pissed if I had to pay subsidy + 50 bucks, less pissed than before where even 2.5 years into my 3 year contract it would have cost me 500 bucks to cancel (400 for the voice portion + 100 for the data portion), I should rephrase that, I wouldn’t be pissed 500 would piss me off, 50 would simply upset me.

  • Daniel AJ

    Too little too late.

  • ddddd

    Lol. This isn’t new. Most providers are already doing this. Boohoo, if you don’t want to feel trapped in a contract’ then don’t sign one.

  • Alan

    I don’t agree that wireless prices are cheaper in the US, especially when you are comparing the Big 3 to Verizon and AT&T. If you go on their websites and go through the process of getting a new iPhone 5 with contract…the monthly plans are much more expensive in the US. The difference is about $30-$40 more than with Robellus. Go to the websites and try for yourself. Don’t point to plans from Straight Talk or another MNVO, that’s not a valid comparison.

    I also don’t think with the new contract structure, that you get an upgrade at 2.5 years without a penalty. If you upgrade at 30 months, I still think you would have to pay the remaining balance to upgrade.

    • Ivan

      The current model they seem to be using is to push share plans. Individually I would agree that they might is some cases be slightly higher than individual plans here. But consider the pricing for a family of 4 in the US sharing 6g. Verizon’s shown example three lines, 4gb, $180 (60/line). AT&T, Three data line with 6gb, $195 (65/line). Telus, two data lines with 3gb each and a basic, 185. On AT&T I could not add i5 to individual plans, but the i4s or GS3 on an individual plan with 3g was $70 (450 nation wide rollover min) or $90 (900 nation wide rollover min) , Telus promo 3g is $80, Bell promo 75, Rogers, $80 (all unlimited LOCAL).

      So, I tried for myself. Not sure where you were looking, but for most circumstances they are the same or more expensive here in Canada. They were certainly not 30-40 higher than here (unless I tried the i5 which most only let me add on a share plan which would be $100 if I was not actually sharing in the case of this one phone).

  • Jerry

    The last time I talked to Bell about cancelling they were going to charge me $200 for cancelling the phone and $200 for cancelling the data plan.

    Really $50 plus the hardware is very reasonable and really means that for the consumer the length of contract becomes largely irrelevant.

  • Vince

    This is called Bill 60 .. Welcome in Québec

  • hfx_nick

    Sorry to break it to everyone but Rogers, Bell and Telus already charge $50 or less to cancel and require you to buy out hardware. Nothing changes for us – they just can’t increase the fees past $50 if they felt like it.

  • Ray

    Thank you for looking out for the consumer. Now we need someone to look into price fixing. I’m sure many of you have noticed that the rates for say an IPhone 4 on a 2 year contract are exactly the same with all 3 carriers. Now that was just 1 example check it out for yourself and you will find many, many more for cell phones, smart phones, tablets etc… I could be wrong but I’m sure this practice is illegal in our country.****