The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission started the second phase of its public consultation today by unveiling a draft of its code for wireless services. The national regulator is seeking further input from Canadian consumers on the code.
“I would like to thank Canadians for having shared their candid views on wireless services,” says CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais. “The draft code is still very much a work in progress and intended to encourage more discussion. We are inviting Canadians to participate by telling us what they think of the working document. Once finalized, the wireless code will enable them to make informed decisions in a competitive marketplace.”
More than 27 million Canadians subscribe to wireless services, which is a $19 billion industry. But for years, complaints have been rising regarding unfair practices by oligopolies who have abused a non-competitive environment to siphon excess profits from their customers.
Here's CRTC's code to combat this pandemic in a nuthshell:
• Cancellation fees, a major plague on consumers, will be more formualic and reasonable.
• Carriers must explicitly explain all limits on their so-called "unlimited" plan offerings.
• Contracts must be written clearly so that customers can understand them easily.
• Mobile phones that are not subsidized or otherwise not on contract must be unlockable for free.
• Users must be sent notices via email or text when they're nearing voice, data, or text usage limits.
• All charges must be suspended while devices are being repaired by the carrier.
• All carriers must provide easy online access to usage monitoring.
“Service providers that offer ‘unlimited’ plans must explain at the time of sale and in the personalized information summary whether there are limits to the ‘unlimited’ plan and whether the service provider retains the discretion to move the consumer to a ‘limited’ plan if these usage limits are exceeded,” reads the draft CRTC code. “Service providers must also explicitly explain, in their fair use policies, the amount of use that will trigger the application of the policy; describe the consequences to the consumer should the policy be applied; and implement internal policies and maintain records that will enable them to demonstrate that they apply fair use policies reasonably.”
What do you think of the code so far?
Photo: Blair Gable, Reuters