CRTC wireless code comes into force: canadians can cancel their contracts without penalty after two years
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today marked the coming into force of its wireless code, which enables Canadians to cancel their contracts at no cost after a maximum of two years. The code also makes it easier for Canadians to understand their contracts for cellphones and other mobile devices and sets out their basic rights.
Canadians will be able to make informed choices about the wireless services—and service providers—that best meet their needs every two years, if not more often. It will be in the best interests of wireless companies to adopt innovative practices to ensure their customers are satisfied and to attract new ones.
The wireless code will apply to all new contracts signed as of December 2, 2013. It will also apply to existing contracts that are renewed or extended, or where the key terms are amended, as of that same date. In addition, the code will apply to all wireless contracts as of June 3, 2015, regardless of when they were signed.
Among other things, the wireless code will allow individual and small business consumers to:
- terminate their wireless contracts after two years without cancellation fees
- limit data charges in excess of the usage defined in their plans at $50/month
- limit national and international data roaming charges in excess of the usage defined in their plans at $100/month
- have their cellphone unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if they paid for the device in full
- return their cellphone, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if they are unhappy with their service
- accept or decline changes to the key terms of a fixed-term (i.e., 2-year) contract, and
- receive a contract that is easy to read and understand.
The CRTC developed the wireless code at the request of the wireless industry. The code addresses the main frustrations that Canadians shared with the CRTC during its public consultation, which included the length of wireless contracts, cancellation fees, bill shock and other industry practices.