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CRTC’s Wireless Code of Conduct comes into effect today (Update)

Parliament-Ottawa

After six months of promises and pre-emptive changes to the way our telcos do business — not to mention the very fabric of how we purchase devices — the CRTC’s Wireless Code of Conduct comes into effect today for all new and altered contracts.

Though most of the major Canadian wireless providers have already instituted many of the Code’s tenets, the most drastic of which has been the move away from 3-year contracts, there are some sizeable lesser-known benefits to consumers that should be emphasized.

We have highlighted a few of the more important ones below.

  • Contracts must be clear
    • Carriers must use plain language, and communicate in full any changes made to the contract
    • The final price on the bill must be the same as the one advertised in the contract
    • A printed copy of the contract must be made available, at any time during the term, and at no charge
    • Any changes made to the contract during the term must be conveyed 30 days prior to implementation
  • There can be no cancellation fee after 24 months
    • Though 3-year contracts are not banned, customers must be able to cancel their contracts without penalty after 24 months, or two years
    • For fixed-term contracts, the early cancellation fee cannot exceed the remaining value of the owed portion of the device
  • Devices must be be unlockable
    • Devices purchased with subsidy must be unlockable within after 90 calendar days
    • Devices purchased without subsidy must be unlockable immediately after purchase
  • Accounts can be closed without any notice
    • Customers no longer have to give 30 days notice before closing an account
  • Devices can be trialled and returned without penalty for 15 days
    • New devices can be returned without penalty as long as they’re in like-new condition within 15 days of purchase
  • There are now caps on domestic and international roaming charges and data overages
    • Domestic roaming fees will be cut off at $50 per monthly bill cycle unless the customer expressly allows the overage
    • International roaming fees will be cut off at $100 per monthly bill cycle unless the customer expressly allows the overage
    • Data overages will be cut off at $50 per monthly bill cycle unless otherwise specified by the customer

There are many other smaller implications to the Wireless Code that you should read, including specifics on what happens when a term expires (terms are extended at the same price on a month-to-month basis), so take a look at the whole document. It’s fairly easy to read and should provide a good overview on how the government plans to protect wireless consumers going forward.

wirelesscodeinfo

The trouble here, though, is a lack of choice, and it’s something that keeps being brought up again and again. Since the Code effectively banned 3-year contracts, monthly charges, though simplified, have likely increased for the average consumer. Similarly, upfront phone prices have risen in response to the shorter amortization period for phone payouts; phones were cheaper on purchase when customers had 36 months with which to pay them off.

Questions also remain over whether the Code sets a precedent for future government intervention; Industry Canada is already looking into regulating roaming costs above the $50/$100 overage cap; and the CRTC has set a date of June 3rd, 2015, for when the Code must apply to all contracts, even if the initial term was signed under the old 3-year system.

With the impending 700Mhz spectrum auction next month, and the promise of an even more mobile-centric future, the Wireless Code is just one piece of a very big, very messy puzzle.

Update: It appears that at some point between June and December, the tenet about being able to cancel your service without giving 30 days notice — in other words, same day cancellation — has been removed from the Code. We’ve reached out to the CRTC for further clarification.

SourceCRTC
  • gluboy

    Good Morning Canada. A breath of fresh air. Good to hear new rules are in place. A step in right direction

    • Stephen_81

      That is something to be debated :p

      I’m not a fan of the new rules. the government intervention stifles and chance we have at actual reform of our wireless sector. The CRTC basically said that the way things are now done is the way they will continue to be done and we’ll regulate it.

      They’ve removed the ability for different models of service to be provided by nullifying contractual obligations and turning them into nothing more than financing tools.

    • hardy83

      I’m so pessimistic with this industry that I’m just waiting for the news when consumers start getting screwed over by the big three through loopholes in the rules.

    • Groober

      Already happening my friends… plans are much worse. They are recooping the through plans with less features and high overage rates. Caps will prevent “bill shock” but credits will virtually cease to exist because of it. All could have been avoided if i****s understood how the old model worked and bought their devices at full price.

    • ScooterinAB

      I’m honestly more concerned with the minor carriers. The Big 3 were pretty much doing what was written in the code of conduct already (going back to last year or earlier in many cases). It’s the Koodos that were offering 5+ year contracts with the poorly designed Tab system, and the Winds that charged inappropriate cancellation fees, even in the last year of the contract.

      I find it interesting that there was some discussion on wanting 3 year contracts back before this took full effect. I still hold that customers should be allowed to subsidize on 1 and 2 year terms, but that 3 years should be available.

    • grundl

      I don’t see how when all the companies raised there rates and lowered what you get.

  • barrist

    Does the unlocking policy work for devices being used on a different network? For example, I’m using a Bell iPhone on Virgin. Is Bell required to unlock it if I ask them to? Or do I have to find someone with a Bell account, put their sim in it, etc etc.

    • Stephen_81

      They are not “required to give you” the unlock code, they are required to SELL you the unlock code.

      but yes, whom ever you purchased the phone from you can request the unlock code from.

    • Mathieu Poirier

      Be careful with this one though. Telus has put in policy stating that unlock codes will only provided to customers with Telus accounts (postpaid), as the unlock fee can only be billed.
      This means that a Telus exclusive release would still require a MTM activation to get an unlock code, at the $35 charge.

    • gommer strike

      Question on unlock codes. Why aren’t these given away freely by XDA? Why is the unlock codes such holy ground that the hackers, for some reason, don’t see it as a “free for all” and just hand out the codes to the public?

      Why such a double standard over the unlock codes? That’s something that for some reason, XDA coders/hackers for some strange reason of honor, back off on.

    • Stephen_81

      The Locking is done in the Firmware not the OS I believe.

      Old BlackBerry devices uses to be easy and free to unlock, no devs really addressed the Android units I suspect each manufacturer uses a different method to create the lock code

    • barrist

      Thanks. Is this only for phones purchased AFTER today ?

    • Tom

      Lowest I’ve seen is $35 from Telus. Don’t know about Wind.

      Still a rip off compared to online sources, like cellunlocker dot net. The only “advantage” to having your carrier do it for you is that you don’t have to find a non-accepted SIM to use for entering the unlock code (sometimes all your colleagues on the same provider as you lol)

    • gommer strike

      not to mention that if you search RFD for “infamouskid”, and send him a PM – he can send you unlock codes for $4. Yes that’s right. He charges a whole 4 bucks for the same unlock codes that the carriers charge you an arm and leg for.

      That’s why I just don’t understand. What is it with these unlock codes that the hackers feel is such holy ground? Just pass the database around.

    • Tom

      They likely buy the databases at high cost from providers (guessing not officially, maybe they bribe an employee to leak them?) and deserve to at least recoup the costs. A few dollars going to a small independent business is well worth it! Of course, I would prefer to have the codes be free, but I’m not complaining too much either.

    • Colonel Klink

      cellunlocker = ripoff. $140 to unlock iPhone when Bell does it for $50?

    • gommer strike

      or just pay infamouskid on RFD $4 for the codes. $50 from Bell? wow.

    • ineptone

      And how would one go about finding infamouskid on RFD to take advantage of his/her apparent unlock code fire sale?

    • gommer strike

      create an account on RFD and do a search for “infamouskid”. You’ll find him – send him a PM.

    • Tom

      Is the cost only that high for iPhones? Sorry, I have only used cellunlocker for Androids (I used jailbreak methods for iPhones), and never paid more than $15. But if that is true for iPhones, then it is certainly a ripoff.

    • Jesse

      I got my girl friend a bell phone from the bestbuy auction site and we were able to get Virgin to unlock it since it’s essentially the same company

    • Tom

      You can get any provider to unlock your phone for you as long as you have a plan with them or promise to register a plan after they unlock. It’s nothing to do with Virgin being a Bell subsidiary. How much did they charge btw?

  • Candido

    Do these rules apply for new accounts starting today and going forward or does it also apply to customer who are already on older accounts. For example, I locked in to a 3 year plan 2 years ago. I got 1 more to go. Can I cancel my account today and pay no cancellation fees?

    • Joel Smith

      This only applies to new contracts.

    • It’s Me

      Applies to new contract and any contract that is amended or renewed from today onward.

      “The Commission finds that where an obligation relates to a specific contractual relationship between a WSP and a customer, the Wireless Code should apply if the contract is entered into, amended, renewed, or extended on or after 2 December 2013.”

    • NotARogersEmployee

      I think it’s fair to assume that these changes are not retroactive. The terms you agreed on two years ago likely still apply.

    • Stephen_81

      Wont still have to pay a cancellation fee if it is within the 15 days and he hasn’t used 30min of talk time.

    • Stephen_81

      apologies! I had read the comment of the guy who signed up yesterday and then ready your reply directly afterward

  • notyourdaddy

    I just signed a new contract yesterday! Should I return the phone and resign it now?

    • Surveillance

      Probably not necessary, but I’d call your provider anyway and see what your options are.

    • NotARogersEmployee

      Who did you sign with? You’re probably on a 2 year contract as most of the providers implemented the 24 month contract long before yesterday.

    • Stephen_81

      The only catch is What is the cancellation policy.

      IF the Policy still requires 30 days, then YES return the phone and sign a new contract. if it doesn’t then don’t return the phone

  • Joel Smith

    I wonder if the $50 cap on data overages applies to mobile internet-only devices (The Hub/Stick), any limitations on tethering/hot spot and if they just throttle you once you hit the charging-cap.

  • Joel Smith

    I wonder if the $50 cap on data overages applies to mobile internet-only devices (The Hub/Stick), any limitations on tethering/hot spot and if they just throttle you once you hit the charging-cap.

  • Rich

    Too bad it’s not retroactive, but naturally it’s still good news.

  • HeyYoWL

    How about we do away with overages on data altogether and throttle speeds instead? The cost of data is exponentially higher than minutes. Also I’m glad the government is interceding because it should be. Having a cell phone is essential in this day and age where pay phones aren’t found everywhere anymore. In fact the last time I saw one outside if a mall was in a rural town. The real question is where the CTRC was earlier? Isn’t this what they were created to do?

    • NotARogersEmployee

      I’d rather keep the speeds I pay for and pay for the overages if I go over. Perhaps they should give us a choice rather than forcing “fixes” that may not be desired by everyone.

    • Stephen_81

      I agree.
      I would like a SMS from my provider when I am at 75% of my bandwidth warning me I am at 75% and informing me that If I do nothing my speed will be reduced at 100%, OR I can choose to purchase an additional allotment of data for the month to retain my speed.

      My Rogers phone I never go over my cap.
      My Koodo phone I deliberately go over my cap because paying overages is cheaper than moving 1 plan up. I would employ different strategies to overages on each phone

    • HeyYoWL

      I’ve been told by Rogers in the past that they can’t monitor data usage in real time, which I find absolutely ridiculous. It’s why their app tells you to wait 24 hours or something to ensure accurate tracking. I find it interesting that they can detect overages and put limits for you but can’t tell you in real time how much you’ve used.

      I think the best system would be to throttle you at cap and text you saying that you have the option now of paying for regular speed or keep it at throttled speeds. This way everyone is happy.

    • Stephen_81

      I would VERY much believe that they can’t monitor usage in real time for everyone.

      The computational power to do so would be ridiculous and expensive with the amount of data flow constantly changing.

      It would be like trying to monitor the waterflow out of 9 million hoses with variable pressure from each hose. sure it could be done but the costs would be astronomical instead you’d just monitor each hose in a given time frame. same is said for our mobile usage. The system probably monitors you on a given interval and then updates the Consumer and first level support staff information pages on a daily interval. That is the best use of funds and resources for such a service

      I would HATE to be throttled during something important because I hit my limit. let me know in advance, they certainly have the ability to do so as they have the system in place for the US roaming

    • HeyYoWL

      Here was my situation a while back. I signed up for a free trial of Netflix and was 75% of my data usage (6gb cap) as per the text message I got and their app. I thought “Ok I’ll finish watching this 20 min episode and I’ll stop here, since it says on the app to wait for update”. Next day the app only showed I’d used up another few hundred MB so I thought Ok let’s watch another episode. Later that day I got an email from Rogers and the app confirming I was over my limit by 500MB. They agreed to waive it as a good will gesture but said if it happened again they wouldn’t reimburse me anymore. That’s when I cancelled Netflix. I think it’s ridiculous that if their own tools and the ones they provide me aren’t able to track accurately enough, why are they allowed to charge for overages?

    • Stephen_81

      You purchased 6GB of data. why should you be allowed to use more of it if you didn’t purchase it?

      If you buy tickets to go on the train from Toronto to Ottawa should you be allowed to travel to Montreal for free because you need to go further?

      They should offer you the option to pay more to stay on. And because they can’t do it in a instant manner and talk to everyone on the train at the same time, they start asking in Kingston if anyone wants to stay in their seat and pay extra.

      With your example you decided to use a data heavy service and didn’t expect it to cost you more.

    • HeyYoWL

      Say what? I’m not sure you’re understanding my issue. If you go over, of course you get charged. It’d be unreasonable not to be. But if you read my example, I waited for the mentioned time in the app, the app told me it was all clear, and then I watched another episode. One 20 min episode doesn’t take up 1.5gb of bandwidth. What that means is that the app obviously was way off in reporting, meaning that it is useless to me as a measuring tool.

    • Stephen_81

      If I’m using 25% of my data in a single day, my plan needs to be changed. that said the inclusion of opting to buy a larger package from the SMS could easily be applied retroactive to that overage data. The carriers don’t want you to dispute claims. I’ve had retroactive US data added many times to my plans over the years

    • Gary

      I have worked on the software that controls theses things. At present, it is technically very difficult to monitor the usage in real time. It is even more difficult to do it while roaming unless all the parties involved change their software.

    • HeyYoWL

      So then that being said how is it fair to be charged for overages when we don’t have tools to monitor things in real time? That was my issue with Rogers.

    • No lies

      Telus advises you, I can’t speak for the others though

    • J-Ro

      There always was a choice. A lot of people never ask but you can put a limit on your account, similar to when you have bad or poor credit. This is now reverse the old policy to see if it helps people save. It is good, for those that buy and ask no questions.

    • HeyYoWL

      See, the thing is why do we need to ask at all? Isn’t that something they should tell you about?

    • No lies

      You want them to review all the 8-9.5m clients every time a client goes over on something? Do you realize the amount of work required to do something like that? Do you get advised when you spend money out your bank? No you have to manage your life the same thing applies to your cell

    • Stephen_81

      how many transactions a second happen in your bank account?

      my phone is processing upwards of 2000 transactions a second while I am IMing since they monitor a kb/s usage when billing.

    • Stephen_81

      Because we pay less!

      YES the technology exists, but it costs money to run. and the majority of people don’t care about minute to minute accuracy of data so why pay the Billions to build and maintain systems to do that for no reason when people wont pay.

      If you were willing to pay for the service they have the technology to offer it but people don’t want to pay for that service and Rogers doesn’t need to be managing a database that’s only purpose is monitoring usage.

      Towns don’t monitor your water usage by the minute they take a tally at a given interval you want the service now and pay for it later. On a pay as you go model they have to monitor it more closely but you pay a considerable greater sum per KB for them to do that.

    • Stephen_81

      The costs for Enterprise level Hardware is far different than that of your consumer products, which again are barely tracking the data compared to the requirements of upto the minute information sure we could get more than 24 hour updates for little cost. but up to the minute data is really expensive to provide. plus for systems of that nature you’re talking triple redundancy. if not more. Additionally the power consumption to run systems to manage that is continually going up as is the cost to cool those data centres.

      You can’t scale monitoring linearly. those that do always have their systems fail.

    • Stephen_81

      I usually err on the side of more expensive I’ll agree. Though every big data mover seems to go drastically over budget when implementing systems. and a system like this would be at least 150000 database calls per second if people wanted just up to the minute readouts.
      That is going to require a pretty robust data centre and is going to need 1 fat pipe to manage the data flow in and out of that centre.

    • Stephen_81

      I’d say it is them not wanting to invest in any thing that can’t make them more money that is holding them back. investing in reporting systems that can’t generate more money hurts margins AND increases their liability when audited about their practices.

    • J-Ro

      Look up 151 front street. That will give you an idea of how expensive their servers are. They are great and fast but expensive as hell.

    • J-Ro

      Lol I agree, he may have over shot it. Billions in the course of 5 to 10 years maybe but the up front cost would be millions at most. Still very expensive and potential not a good ROI if no one uses it.

    • HeyYoWL

      Even with all this being said, water isn’t as overpriced as wireless communication is. If data wasn’t super expensive, you wouldn’t be paying so much when you go over. And again, even if monitoring by the minute were unfeasible, why can’t they do at least even every few hours? If you open the Rogers app they say you need 24 hours if I recall correctly. There’s a one day delay? This is acceptable?

    • J-Ro

      Water is needed to live. A cell phone doesn’t fill your stomach or quench your thirst. That might be why a cell phone cost more than not having one and a car cost more than walking.

    • HeyYoWL

      No it’s not needed to live to be sure, but that still doesn’t change the fact that it’s ridiculously overpriced. A car is more expensive than walking yes, but that’s because a car costs money to make in materials, labour and R&D. There is no reason for data to costs as much as it does. And even if data came at a reasonable price, as long as they charge for overages that neither they nor you as the consumer can measure accurately (until a full day has passed), it’s not a fair situation.

    • J-Ro

      Like a car, its a desire. We will always pay more for a desire. Less than a decade ago, no one really had data or cared for it. Now it must come with a plan or their is media spread panic. As long as we keep data in such high regard, they will always charge more for it.

    • HeyYoWL

      But unlike a car, there is no tangible reason for the high price. At least you can argue that with a car, it needs to be physically made. The metal, plastic, wood, etc needs to be bought, assembly line workers need to be paid, etc. With data, the infrastructure is already there. It’s a cash grab, plain and simple.

    • J-Ro

      I won’t agree that it is more of a cash grab. But the same can be said for many luxuries. All we can do as individuals is control how much we use. I know it is hard to monitor data when so many popular apps are now turning to video but it has to be done with these prices.

    • HeyYoWL

      Yes but giving customer’s 6GB of data is basically tempting users to use more data, and if you make it very difficult to track how much you use, then how do you control short of not using it very much day to day? At which point, why is a consumer paying for this data then? I’m not sure how you cannot agree that the current data rates from the Big 3 isn’t a cash grab. There is no reason that the same $30 for 6GB that they were able to give consumers before has now shrunk to a much lower cap. And even if you say that was a promotional offer, the amount of data that $30 got you prior to these 2 year contract changes was still much more than what you get now. I get it, as a business (and a publicly traded one at that), your job is to make money and maximize profits. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a rip off.

    • J-Ro

      I will agree that new pricing is insane but in a way we asked for it. We had great pricing on 3 years but 2 years set us back. One day it will be a little less insane but until then, we will be paying out the rear for data nation call (because that is SO important now).

      I was happy with 6gb and the nationwide fab 10.

    • HeyYoWL

      We never had great pricing in Canada with the Big 3. It’s always been overpriced for no reason. It’s just even more so now and those older plans look more attractive in comparison. We didn’t “ask” for it. They could’ve kept 3 years as an option for those who were still fine with it. There’s also no reason for the large increase overall in price.

      They’ve always said that part of the monthly costs went to subsidize the device that you bought at a low price. Fair enough, so why is it that I’ve seen device prices go up alongside the plans? Or why if I bring my own device, do I not get more than 10% off? Does that mean that prior to the changes, only 10% of my bill was going to cost of the device? Because then there shouldn’t be such a huge spike in costs.

      Again, it’s a cash grab. They want to keep the same big(ger) profit margins so they increased the prices of everything plain and simple.

    • J-Ro

      I wish we could choose but 3 years is now illegal. The old plans weren’t only good in comparison but good compared to other countries with similar networks (US). They do offer more off for higher plans, if you BYOD. It seems expensive now but it isn’t as bad as it could be.

    • HeyYoWL

      When I was in Australia, I paid $10 for 1GB of data on a local SIM, and I paid $10 for the SIM itself. That $10 I paid for the SIM also went to the balance on my plan that I chose specifically for long distance calling. I paid $0.01 a minute to call Canada, and $0.03 a minute to call local. Find me a similar plan in Canada. It doesn’t exist.

    • J-Ro

      You got me there. That is pretty good. I guess when it comes to anything other than a promotion, our plans are pretty crap. All we really have is fast data, which is a gift and a curse depending on your cap.

    • J-Ro

      You have me there. That is a lot better than anything we have. Lets hope the future is brighter for Canadian wireless.

    • HeyYoWL

      I’m not aware of the work required, and you can think me ignorant, but I don’t see a problem with wanting them to notify customers when they come close to their limits. When I was in Australia and I was near my balance/data limit, I was notified with a text message, and I know there are other carriers in other parts of the world who do it too. And it’s funny you mention banking because in the US there are banks (think it was Citibank) who notify you through text if something is NSF. But regardless banking is a bad example because with banking, at least the app shows you your usage in real time. My issue again is that the app with wireless carriers is that they DON’T show you your real time usage.

      Besides, considering how high the monthly fees are for the big 3, even if it was expensive, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask them to provide that for customers.

    • J-Ro

      Human error. Things these days are based around companies knowing that employees and customers aren’t paying full attention.

      If you are old enough to sign up for a mobile contract, you are old enough to know and understand your limits. If you’re signing up a child, their should always be an adjusted limit.

    • HeyYoWL

      That would be fine for me as well, but that’s not even a choice right now.

    • Deciare

      Better yet, how about selling lower-speed data connections for a lower price? Landline ISPs already do it; I’d be happy to take something like 1 Mbps down/1 Mbps up in exchange for $20 less per month than unthrottled LTE service.

  • Stephen_81

    “Contracts must be clear

    Carriers must use plain language, and communicate in full any chances made to the contract

    The final price on the bill must be the same as the one advertised in the contract

    A printed copy of the contract must be made available, at any time during the term, and at no charge

    Any changes made to the contract during the term must be conveyed 30 days prior to implementation”

    What I would like to see is the inclusion of taxes in the contract advertised price. They are still permitted to list $79.99+tax which for an Ontario resident is actually $90.39

    They do this because provinces set their own taxes but it is a practice I want to see be more like the UK were the tax is included in every price. Lets start with the wireless industry if we are going to regulate everything about them.

    “There can be no cancellation fee after 24 months

    Though 3-year contracts are not banned, customers must be able to cancel their contracts without penalty after 24 months, or two years

    For fixed-term contracts, the early cancellation fee cannot exceed the remaining value of the owed portion of the device”

    I like the 24 months no cancellation fee. That was good, It is the nullifying the contract within the 24 months that bothers me the most. It essentially locks consumers into a TAB like agreement with carriers hence forth. There can be no negotiation of hardware, There can be no new entrants looking to change the status quo. What the CRTC has done is nullified the value of a Contract and instead made it simply a payment plan system for new devices. If someone hired you to shovel their drive way for the year, and signed contract to pay you $100 per month, then 3 months in said, Nope I don’t want you to shovel anymore. You’d be upset. You had a contract you expected 6 months of work. now you have 3 months, you still own all the equipment you now need to find someone new.

    Contracts are meant to be a binding agreement for a set term and level of service. not meant as a financing plan for the new devices.

    “Devices must be be unlockable

    Devices purchased with subsidy must be unlockable within after 90 calendar days

    Devices purchased without subsidy must be unlockable immediately after purchase”

    HUGE fan of this. regardless of the price they are charging I like that I can get my device unlocked if I want. For new devices on day one of launch I’ve paid upwards of $80 and waited as long as an hour to get the unlock code from 3rd party sources If I can do that from the carrier day one sign me up

    “Accounts can be closed without any notice

    Customers no longer have to give 30 days notice before closing an account”
    I don’t like that we have no notice cancellation, I hated 30 days. but we require the provider to give US 30 days notice of changes we aren’t required to provide 30 days notice we want out? it isn’t a fair design for the contract. I very much fear how carriers will respond to this in terms of pricing devices.

    “Devices can be trialled and returned without penalty for 15 days

    There are no more “30 minute call limits” for new devices”
    Love this! now I can give devices a much better test before deciding if I like them or not. This is going to cut the used market a bit and increase the referb market at the carrier stores.

    “There are now caps on domestic and international roaming charges and data overages

    Domestic roaming fees will be cut off at $50 per monthly bill cycle unless the customer expressly allows the overage

    International roaming fees will be cut off at $100 per monthly bill cycle unless the customer expressly allows the overage

    Data overages will be cut off at $50 per monthly bill cycle unless otherwise specified by the customer”

    I don’t have high hopes for how the Carriers will handle this.
    Rogers has addressed the roaming data caps by creating a rolling data allotment of $8/50mb that is infinitely stackable as each 50MB block you give express permission to be charged.
    I have yet to deal with domestic roaming, and my current monthly overage cost on my Koodo device is $5/month so I am not in fear of breaking the $50 cap.

    I want to know how the carriers will handle the Canadian data overage costs. Will all plans become FLEX plans? will they start throttling internet on my phone? will they start network shaping more dramatically? This is part of the equation that is still very unclear and has a lot of room for manipulation.
    as a manipulator myself I am looking at it closely

    • Dano B.

      “The final price on the bill must be the same as the one advertised in the contract” – No – Minimum price has to be on the contract, however it does have to specify whether it includes tax or not;

    • Stephen_81

      The Final price states “$79.99+tax” which is compliant with the regulations, the Final TOTAL on the Bill, would read $90.39
      Price and Total are different terms, while they are semantics it is these little things that I’d have liked to see different

    • Russ Field

      Its not hard to follow the data usage in real time of every customer ss its all digital. .doesn’t matter if there are five or five hundred million..all they have to do is write a flag in their code to send a message at specific intervals to each client who digitally hits the markers..they own the infrastructure already so no cost to them except for reducing the potentisl calls of mad users who went over and try to decrease their bills..especially international travellers..by offering a link to purchase an extra package when a person goes over creates value added for the consumer as a best interest for the carrier while decreasing potential callsite csr hours for the carrier…effective solution very simple to integrate..the challenge is how closed or open is the current it infrastructure to allow the scalability of the inplementation of new or addended code to make this happen coupled with corporate greed we have seen so prevailent especially in the big three since their inception

    • Stephen_81

      Russ, I agree with your statement here. But it is how the carriers manage that I am not confident with. Will they do as I hope they do with international travelers and allow me to buy more data? will they throttle? will they cut service? will the force flex plans and not notify you of your data allotment?
      So many ways it could happen.

      The Carriers very much could put in a call that doubles their monitoring so that they keep better track of usage and provide solutions. and I would hope that is what they do.

  • beyond

    what was the point of the 30 minute time limit for new device refunds?

    • It’s Me

      It was a scam completely against the spirit of any and all consumer protection laws in Canada.

      Their argument was that talktime meant additional wear and tear on the device, so they arbitrarily picked 30 minutes of talktime as the threshold at which the wear and tear made the device too worn for a refund. Of course that makes no logical sense, but here we are.

    • Stephen_81

      How is it a “scam?” While on modern phones I’d agree the 30min talk time is arbitrary, it isn’t scam, it is a failure to pace the usage with the technology.
      30 min talk time was 20% of the life of my Motorola starTac 85, which got me 2.5 hours of talk time maybe 3 hours if lucky.

      So saying you should be able to gauge the appreciation for the device in that time frame was fair, especially when usage was so much lower for mobile devices.

      It is far from a scam, it was just a failure to keep with the times on the carriers parts.

    • Anell

      failure to keep up with the times? more like opportunistic little *beeps* taking advantage of people.

    • It’s Me

      Talk time of 30 minutes add no more wear on the phone that 1 minute. The capacity of your battery has no bearing on the issue.

      Saying that 30 minutes of talk time materially affects the wear of the device is as useful as if they had claimed the day of the week of the usage. “You may return the phone within 15 days as long as it was never used on a Tuesday”.

    • Stephen_81

      While battery drain has little to do with the life of the phone, the charging port USED to, since MicroUSB has taken over this is less of a matter. but the failure point of phones was often the charging port.

      I’m not saying that 30 minutes makes sense. I’m saying calling it scam is like saying that the highway speed limit on the 401 being 100km/h is scam by the government to collect speeding fines.

    • It’s Me

      No, that is not a good analogy. Speed limits exist because of rational reasons including safety. A 30 minute talk time restriction is completely arbitrary and exists only to invent a reason to refuse refunds.

      If the 401 had stretches that had their speed limit change throughout the day, from 100 to 50 to 100 to 70 to 120 to 40, on the same stretch, for no other reason than to invent a reason to collect fees and to increase the likelihood of someone being caught for speeding, then I would agree with your analogy. And if this was the case, I would call such a restriction a scam that serves no purpose other than being a scam.

    • Stephen_81

      fair enough, the speed limit thing is an entirely different debate.

      But I’d like to know how you’d define a device to be used fairly.
      How much usage would you accept on a device that you are paying full retail for from a carrier?

    • It’s Me

      I would suggest that usage should have no bearing at all. I would argue that the condition of the device should be all that is allowed to be used to refuse a legitimate refund (within a reasonably defined time period…most CPA’s allow 10 days for a comsumer to rollback/cancel any consumer agreement for any reason).

      If there is no material difference in condition caused by talk time, data usage, day of the week on which the condition occurred or the height/weight of the customer, then the imposition of such arbitrary restrictions meant to preclude and refuse a legitimate refund is a scam.

    • Stephen_81

      This is a good that is touch your face. it isn’t just a contract of service though.

      The carriers could argue you can’t remove the plastic film off of the device, before returning it so that it remains in like new condition.

      They need to implement regulations/rules that make it brain dead easy for enforcement.
      Like Load securement. requiring a strap to have a label saying its working load limit has no barring on the ability of the strap to do the job of securing a load. the label is so that enforcement can easily identify the strength of the strap and enforce regulations without any testing equipment

    • It’s Me

      I suppose they could try to impose a “no usage” restriction, since certainly usage, in and of itself, could be considered to have introduced wear. The carriers are not obligated to refund the phones from the perspective of them as goods that were sold, unless they were defective. If the carriers only sold phones that were not bound to service agreements, then they could simply refuse refunds, period.

      But the carriers chose to make the sale of the phones, on subsidy, tied to their service contracts. That was their choice. Their choice to tie them together means they are tied together. The only way for you to completely nullify the agreement is with a refund of your phone. Attaching arbitrary rules meant to restrict your ability to cancel your contract within your cooling off period becomes problematic.

    • Stephen_81

      They could force a full buy out of the device to nullify the contract.

      I am only arguing your calling the arbitrary rules a scam. I find I usually can’t get a good feel for a phone till I’ve had to use it on a conference call. I didn’t really learn to hate my iPhone till my first day with over 5 hours of talk time. by the time I hated it I was long past the minutes, but still within the first week. So the rules have been negative on me but I don’t call them a scam.

    • It’s Me

      In your own example, you were arbitrarily prevented from returning your phone for an otherwise legitimate reason, simply because of an arbitrary rule. You are stuck with goods you would have otherwise been able to return for no good reason. That, to me, is a scam.

    • Stephen_81

      I was neither defrauded, nor tricked into my purchase. There was no false pretense into the purchase nor any changes to the rules from when I purchased to when I would have wanted to return so it wasn’t a scam.

      If I purchase a house on a 5yr mortgage and want to pay it off early I must pay a fee to be allowed to do so. Is the mortgage industry a scam? You know going in that is the case.

      I for one would not want to purchase a “new device” that someone else had been using for 100 hours of talk time. just like I’m not a fan of sharing my device with people for extended periods. that thing touches my face and has nooks and cranny’s that are hard to clean

    • It’s Me

      If the phone has been used for 10 minutes would that make you want to use it more than if it had be talked on for 30 minutes or 60 minutes? Hopefully, if the phone has been opened and removed from the packaging, they aren’t selling it as new regardless of how much or little talk time was recorded.

      In the case of mortgages, this is a heavily regulated industry. There are regulations that prevent them from imposing arbitrary and draconian measures in order to protect the consumer.

    • Stephen_81

      The insurance industry is heavily regulated and it doesn’t prevent imposing of arbitrary and draconian measures.

      My ability to drive according to insurance is directly related to my ability to have a pink piece of paper in my glovebox.

      And While I agree that I would HOPE that devices wouldn’t be sold as new after even 10 minutes of use. The problem lies in that if they can’t sell them new every time someone takes a phone they are taking a loss. like a car dealership who can’t take your car back and try and sell it as new.

      each industry is different and the arbitrary talk time is a measurable and controllable method of managing returns which no company wants to deal with anyway. Return management isn’t a scam

    • Jakob

      It wasn’t a scam. It was one of those rules that were implemented to help curb the amount of people who would return devices that were not in new enough condition or right at the end of the 15 day period. Unfortunately, I saw tons of people who try and ‘rent’ a phone for 2 weeks and then just bring it back and make a huge fuss to return it (threaten, etc). When that 30 minute rule came into effect it dented those returns by a LARGE margin. When they’re removing it is beyond me. I liked how it encouraged people to decide whether they wanted it or not and not try and pass up some torn open box/ device that no one wanted anymore and was doomed to rot. It may shock some people, but there are a lot of dishonest people and even more who don’t treat expensive products.

    • Stephen_81

      I know I’ve often through about the “rental” ideal for my 3rd device. I never use voice and I’m a gadget guy. If I could rent the newest device every 14 days I’d get my gadget fill without putting out the $$$$ I do now for dust collectors.

      I very much could see people who have more time on their hands to go into stores to take up said practice of new phone every 15 days.

    • Jakob

      I’m all for policies that force consumers to make up their minds and do their homework all the while giving them a chance to try things out. So many people just mistreat products and expect the ‘take anything back’ type policy of Walmart. You should see people’s reactions to phones that have simply been opened to demo it to THEM. They very often turn around and say ‘Now get an unopened one’ despite having one opened right in front of them. Back in 2010 the devices rotting in retail shops was unbelievable. This also encouraged bad behaviour from retailers to get rid of these types of phones because they’re forced to manager their inventory. I’ve seen people get stuffed with returned phones and lied to about it.

      There is also the manufacturers warranty on devices sold in these windows and retailers align to meet these so they don’t get stud with dud phones they can’t send back.

    • wp77

      Pretty much meant you would not have enough time with the device to decide if you wanted to keep it or not. So guess what, your 30 minutes are, you’re keeping it.

    • Stephen_81

      The 30min time was the arbitrary time the defined as USED device. The talk time never climbed with the change in usage patterns over the years.
      This allowed them to not have a rolling gate of returns for people who wanted to try everything out, Computer stores put restocking fees, which is what I expect to see Carriers test the waters with.

  • J-Ro

    Isn’t there an allowed amount of data you can’t go over as well? Has that been removed all together?

  • Shaggyskunk

    I’m “entertained” by the hypocrisy of the carriers – “…. We’re listening to, YOU, the consumers….” They’re ONLY listening to the CRTC.. AND, even at that – The carriers are still challenging the CRTC – And have been given approval by the Federal Court of Appeal – To challenge the CRTC’s Wireless Code…

    http://www.itworldcanadaDOTcom/article/carriers/

  • o_zzy

    Only thing still missing is the fee of unlocking devices. Unlocking an iPhone officially costs $50, its madness.

  • Columbo

    “Customers no longer have to give 30 days notice before closing an account”

    Ah, finally! A welcome change. I hope this implies that if you close your account you don’t have to PAY for another 30 days either? Anyone know if this applies to porting numbers out?

    • Stephen_81

      This is basically what it is for. You put in a request to port your number that is essentially you requesting a cancellation.
      They can’t hold your number.
      The purpose is SUPPOSE to work that if you go to Carrier B and request a number port to move your services from Carrier A, you no longer need to call Carrier A to cancel your contract and pay for service for both Carrier A and Carrier B for 30 days

  • James

    Canceling a telus contract today and switching to wind!

  • moedin1

    Can I cancel a 3-year term deal after 2-years without any extra cancellation charges now??? How does this work?

  • Tom

    “Devices purchased without subsidy must be unlockable immediately after purchase”

    Technically, this was already true… you just had to buy the code online since the carrier wouldn’t do it for you. Of course it was an inconvenience since you’d also have to find a friend who could lend you a non-accepted SIM for a minute.

    I’d like to see a “at no charge” after this statement. A number of European and Asian markets have banned SIM locks completely – you can buy ON contract and not worry about a lock. Even the European countries that still practice locking will not charge for unlocking if you buy the phone outright or have good standing after 90 days into your contract.

  • mmcfly

    I don’t know why you guys claim that you no longer have to respect the ’30 minutes’ policy. I just read the CRTC document on the source link and the trial period states the following: During the trial period, customers may cancel their contract without penalty or early cancellation fee if they have used less than the permitted usage; and
    returned any device provided by the service provider, in near-new condition, including original packaging.

    —-Look at the trial period paragraph below—

    When a customer agrees to a contract through which they are subject to an early cancellation fee, a service provider must offer the customer a trial period lasting a minimum of 15 calendar days to enable the customer to determine whether the service meets their needs.

    The trial period must start on the date on which service begins.

    A service provider may establish reasonable limits on the use of voice, text, and data services for the trial period.

    During the trial period, customers may cancel their contract without penalty or early cancellation fee if they have used less than the permitted usage; and
    returned any device provided by the service provider, in near-new condition, including original packaging.

    If a customer self-identifies as a person with a disability, the service provider must extend the trial period to at least 30 calendar days, and the permitted usage amounts must be at least double the service provider’s general usage amounts for the trial period.

  • Robert George

    I just went to get a phone, the lady at Rogers store told me now it’s upto the company to specify how many minutes to use before returning the phone. I called Rogers, they told me the same thing. The information given here is wrong. I just read it my self.

    It’s on the CRTC website.

    When a customer agrees to a contract through which they are subject to an early cancellation fee, a service provider must offer the customer a trial period lasting a minimum of 15 calendar days to enable the customer to determine whether the service meets their needs.
    The trial period must start on the date on which service begins.
    A service provider may establish reasonable limits on the use of voice, text, and data services for the trial period.
    During the trial period, customers may cancel their contract without penalty or early cancellation fee if they have
    used less than the permitted usage; and
    returned any device provided by the service provider, in near-new condition, including original packaging.

  • Michael May

    My biggest frustration is that (“TAB” type plans aside) buying a phone outright *should* lower the monthly rate (which includes a subsidy). As is stands, there is no incentive to do this, other than to allow me to be contract free and an opt out at any time.
    This really needs addressing.

    • Stephen_81

      I’ve always had a 10% discount for having my own hardware on Bell.
      Koodo offers that now, as does Telus and I believe Rogers so that has been addressed

    • Stephen_81

      I’d agree to a degree. But as a Carrier I want to incentives you to buy a device and have to pay it off then want to do so again since I now have NO OTHER WAY to manage usage predictions and subscriptions now that the government has stripped contract laws from Carrier contracts

    • Stephen_81

      The carriers had a predicable and modelable method of planning and deploying upgrade to areas with contracts. The barrier to break the contract was enough to keep most people from doing so which allowed for predictability.

      Next time you write a business plan think about the things you are counting on, Carriers had greater abilities to count on consistent revenue and service requirements with previous contracts. while people might not jump ship any more now than they did previously the liability is there for that to happen so investment comes at a greater risk.

      The contracts were Tools. They sucked, but companies use them in every industry. and CRTC has killed their value for the wireless industry. They’ve reduced new entrants security when gaining subscriptions which means the financing bodies are likely to charge them higher interest on capital due to liabilities.

    • Stephen_81

      There is a difference now, but it is a small one yes. It is about risk calculations and modeling which is evil and horrible and no one ever wants to understand it even those who do it.

      These changes are superficially better for the consumer, AND they actually are better for the BIg3, because these new rules basically have made Canada LESS attractive to set up shop in, and have increased the barriers to getting financing for new entrants.

      They’ve also removed the ability to create plans based on anything but the cost of the device being paid off. Once can not sign a contract to get free devices every year for the employees now based on a service package because the contract is nullified if the devices are paid off. OR the “tab” is so large it is not feasible to offer such a deal for employees because buying a $700 retail phone every year but only paying off $240 of it means you’re getting further and further into debt.

      Contracts like in the UK were the Device cost is bundled into your monthly plan, the device is free, and you buy a plan that has the price built in, if you buy an $800 phone your plan might be $63/mo if you buy $700 phone it might be $62/mo there is no device repayment plan, you pay that price for the length of your contract, you buy a SIM free phone if you break your phone. Discounts are applied to the contract price total, not to parts.

      Like saw this BlackFriday. $100 off select phones on 2 year term. The $500 phone that was $199 on 2 year term with a $300 tab, is now $99 on 2 yr term with $400 tab.. oooohh the savings…

    • Ryan Laker

      My goodness, this borders on a civil and intelligent discussion! MobileSyrup is no place for this kind of level headedness. I must ask you to take this mature discussion somewhere else.

    • Stephen_81

      terrible sorry, I’ll have to revert to calling @nekkidtruth:disqus names during our conversations for them to be more befitting the usual level of discussion mobilesyrup readers are accustom to.
      ummm

    • Stephen_81

      Oh I’m in agreement that the contract length going to 2 years is a good thing. I’m not in agreement with contract termination being limited to just the remaining balance of a device purchase. that is my distaste.

    • HeyYoWL

      The simple explanation is that they want to maintain their high profit margins, and being a business they’re allowed to charge what they want.

  • I SikhWarrior I

    So can I cancel my existing 3 year contract with no fees, or do these rules only apply to new contracts after they went into play?

    • Urban Cowgirls

      It sounds like you can cancel with no fee’s in July 2015 (if your 3 years isnt up by then)

  • Urban Cowgirls

    I signed on to the virgin super-tab in Septermber of this year. Can I get my phone unlocked since it has been 90 days? Or must I wait for June 2015 for the code to apply to me and then at that point I can unlock my phone for free?

    • Stephen_81

      There is NO free Unlocking from the Carriers. regardless of term. unlocking WILL cost you money as it stands now.

      You can try and bring your phone to Virgin to get it unlocked (it has been my experience they are the WORST carrier to get unlock codes out of) I believe they have no obligation to unlock phones purchased before today but that isn’t to say the store representative wont do it for you

    • rgl168

      You could not have signed a Supertab in September. Supertab has ended as of Aug 1.

      Regardless, Virgin has an official unlocking policy in place (under Support -> Phone Support, Warranty and Repairs -> Unlocking your phone). For most people it would be 90-days of owning the device + $50.

  • PT

    A real sad day for Robellus. Canada most hates companies ever!

  • jlitz

    Devices purchased with subsidy must be unlockable within after 90 calendar days AT A RATE SPECIFIED BY YOUR WIRELESS SERVICE PROVIDER.
    Every single entitled customer and news story seems to leave this key fact out

  • Matthew Grundle

    So the cooperate plan at Telus just when from $50 to $70 a month and you get less.

    Old 3 year $50
    -6gb of data
    -voice mail , callwaiting
    - 250 (may have been more or less but I hardly use minutes) anytime mins and unlimited after 6

    Total cost (50*36) = 1800

    new 2 year $70
    -3gb of data
    -voice mail , callwaiting
    -unlimited calling canada wide

    Total cost (70 * 24) = 1680

    That’s only 120 bucks less and you lose 12 months of service. They really are losing money on the 2 year deals. Yeah right. Not to mention the price of the phone is higher. on the iphone 5s it makes it a difference of $90 from old 3 year plan. How have the new rules generated any better prices… they haven’t.

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