Ontario Moving Forward to Stop Cell Shock
McGuinty Government To Introduce Strong Protections for Wireless Services Consumers
Today, Ontario will introduce legislation that would make cell phone and wireless services contracts transparent and eliminate surprise costs. This proposed legislation will help eliminate the shock many consumers get from their cell phone and wireless services bills.
The proposed Wireless Services Agreements Act, 2012 will, if passed, ensure contracts are written in plain language and itemize services that are included with the basic fee and those which would result in higher costs. Wireless providers will also have to get express consumer consent before renewing or amending a fixed-term contract and customers could cancel contracts before the end of the term with a cap on cancellation fees.
The legislation will affect new contracts and take effect six months after being passed. It will also cover existing agreements that are amended, renewed or extended after it takes effect.
Taking strong action to protect Ontario consumers is part of the McGuinty government's commitment to educate and protect Ontario families by ensuring a fair and safe marketplace.
- Recent media polls showed over 94 per cent of consumers want more protection for cell phone contracts and cancellation fees.
- More than 70 per cent of Ontarians have a wireless services agreement.
- About 62 per cent of all complaints received by the federal Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services in 2010-2011 were about wireless services. More than 41 per cent of those complaints came from Ontarians.
“The 'cell shock' consumers face when opening their cell phone bills will soon become an experience of the past. Ontario consumers have a right to understand their wireless contracts and know what they are paying for.”
“The introduction of this legislation represents an important step forward in protecting Ontario consumers from costly, one-sided cell phone contracts. This is a pocketbook issue that consumers want addressed and our government's bill contains measures that will reduce costs, cap cancellation fees, prevent automatic renewal and make cell phone contracts considerably more fair by requiring greater transparency.”
“We want a thriving rivalry in the wireless market, not one where customers are locked into plans and contracts that no longer serve their needs and are one-sided in favour of the provider. The provincial initiatives clearly respond to the public sentiment that the terms of customer arrangements for mobile service have been skewed against the consumer.”