Canada has banned cellphone unlocking charges and unreadable contracts. Starting December 1, 2017, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ruled that every cellphone sold in Canada must be unlocked, and service providers can no longer charge their customers to unlock their current devices. [1]

Now you can move to a different provider with your device as you wish.

It’s extremely helpful when travelling abroad, so you can swap out your SIM card and use one from a local carrier without an unlocking fee.

According to the Financial Post, in 2016 cellphones service providers got more than $37.7 million in revenue from unlocking fees. TELUS raised its fee to $50 from $35 in 2015. That’s a fraction of retail wireless market revenues, which hit $22.5-billion in 2015. [2]

Due to thousands of consumer complains about unexpected charges in their bills and unclear contracts, the CRTC announced new terms to the Wireless Code. [3] The CRTC has created this Wireless Code to protect mobile wireless consumers and make them better informed of their rights and obligations contained in their contracts with wireless service providers.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS:

Unlocked cellphones

One of the most important changes is the elimination of the fee for unlocking a cellphone. Mobile devices can be unlocked free of charge, upon request, and all newly purchased devices have to be unlocked. In other words, if you buy a new smartphone that comes with a wireless package, it should come to you unlocked; and you can easily take your device to any other carrier if you want.

No cancellation fees after 2 years

You can cancel your contract after 2 years with no cancellation fees – even if you have agreed to a longer term.

Limit on data and roaming charges

Extra data charges and data roaming charges are capped to prevent bill shock. The Wireless Code sets a limit of $100 per account per month for data roaming and $50 for data overage, regardless of the number of devices attached to the account. The account holder, by default, is the only one who can consent to data overage and data roaming charges beyond the established limits. That means your teenage son or daughter cannot click “Yes” to extra data for streaming or remote use of the cellphone without regard to the cost.

15 Day trial period

You can cancel your contract within 15 days and get a full refund on your “near-new condition” device at no extra costs. You can use up to half of your monthly usage during this 15 day trial period.

Clear language

Your contract and related documents must be provided to you in plain language.

We are not going to miss the locked smartphones and unlocking fees – R.I.P.

References:

  1. https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/mobile/codesimpl.htm
  2. http://business.financialpost.com/technology/crtc-bans-smartphone-unlocking-fees-outgoing-chairman-blais-regrets-not-taking-decision-sooner
  3. https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/mobile/change.htm
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