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New consumer legislation protects wireless customers

Thursday, April 25, 2013   by: SooToday.com Staff

NEWS RELEASE

DAVID ORAZIETTI, MPP

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Orazietti's proposed cell phone measures included in new consumer protection legislation

Ontario government introducing stronger rights for wireless consumers

QUEEN'S PARK - The provincial government is introducing legislation that will provide greater protection for consumers of wireless phone services, including measures originally proposed by David Orazietti, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie.

"New legislation introduced by our government will help protect Ontario consumers from costly, confusing, one-sided cell phone contracts," said Orazietti. "This is a pocketbook issue that consumers want addressed and our bill contains measures will make cell phone contracts fairer, more transparent and more affordable.”

The legislation would, if passed, create new rights for consumers of wireless services and help consumers understand the terms of their agreement.

If passed, the proposed legislation will benefit consumers of wireless services by:

  • Requiring contracts to be written in plain language
  • Ensuring contracts clearly outline which services come with the basic fee, and which would result in a higher bill
  • Requiring providers to get consent from the consumer before amending, renewing or extending a fixed-term contract
  • Enforcing a cap on the cost of cancelling a contract or no fee at all, making it less expensive for consumers to walk away from fixed-term contracts

“Ontario consumers want easy to understand cell phone and wireless contracts with no hidden costs,” said Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Consumer Services. “We want to remove the confusion and frustration that come with unclear contracts. Our proposed legislation, if passed, would be backed by meaningful enforcement so that consumers are better protected."

"Millions of Ontarians subscribe to wireless phone services and they want fair and transparent contracts,” said Ken Whitehurst, executive director, Consumers Council of Canada. “The Consumers Council of Canada is pleased that the government is putting the onus on wireless services providers to comply and meet consumer needs."

Orazietti has twice introduced legislation calling for greater protection and transparency for consumers of wireless phone and data services.

In November 2010, Orazietti introduced Bill 133, the Wireless Phone, Smart Phone and Data Service Transparency Act, which passed Second Reading in the Legislature with support from all political parties.

In 2011, Orazietti re-introduced the proposed legislation as Bill 5, which again passed Second Reading with all-party support.

Quick facts

Approximately eight out of 10 Ontario families have a wireless services agreement.

More than 80 percent of wireless service agreements are post-paid, meaning that people are billed after they sign agreements and use the services.

Overall complaints to the federal Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services have more than tripled over the past four years.

A recent survey by OpenMedia.ca compiled the opinions and complaints of 2,800 cell phone users who called for an overhaul of the cell phone market.

The Ontario wireless services market is dominated by three companies (Bell, Rogers, Telus) which provide 97 percent of all wireless services in the province. Six companies occupy the remaining three per cent of the market.

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Pictured: Ken Whitehurst, executive director of the Consumers Council of Canada; Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Consumer Services; and David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources
 

Comments
9
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Gater 4/25/2013 1:46:25 PM Report

Great News.We are being held ransom by these so called service providers.. And from experiance BELL is by far the worst..
sportsfan17 4/25/2013 1:59:14 PM Report

Great to see! We need more consumer rights protection bills like these! Bring on the cable and internet carriers next!
zzeke 4/25/2013 2:00:26 PM Report

While I can appreciate the cap for cancelling a contract be prepared to pay more for the actual phone itself.
KFM 4/25/2013 3:01:37 PM Report

It is nice to see the government is possably doing something for us. But it makes me wonder why they wont take on the manopoly of the big oil companies. Why do they allow us to be robbed every time we have to fill up without questioning it?
Entity 4/25/2013 5:09:29 PM Report

I think legislation that protects us from the Liberals flushing our money down the drain would be better.
Hunter S. Thompson 4/25/2013 9:00:26 PM Report

This is a good idea. The Big Three cell companies have been shafting us for years.
It's about time something is done about it.
Good job.
jonesur 4/25/2013 9:37:09 PM Report

Not sure how they plan to implement this. They (The Provincial Government), seem to believe they are taking the high ground on behalf of the consumer. Unfortunately, the telecommunication industry is within Federal Jurisdiction, making any Provincial Regulation inconsequential. Following the required court challenge abolishing any such law, they will be able to say "We made an attempt to protect our serfs."
guestwho 4/25/2013 10:50:52 PM Report

according to the news,this will be the 4th time they promised this,blah,blah,blah!!
polaris 4/26/2013 7:54:23 AM Report

Useless... all this means is that instead of getting your cell phone for free on a 3 year or 2 year term, you'll end up paying $400-$500 for the phone right out of the gate.
Comments
9
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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