CRTC to begin public hearing on wireless code of conduct
Published Sunday, February 10, 2013 11:17AM EST
Cell phone users frustrated with lengthy contracts and hefty roaming fees could soon see some changes as Canada’s telecommunications regulator begins a public hearing on a wireless code of conduct.
Monday marks the first day of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s week-long hearing that aims to improve protection for wireless customers.
The CRTC had earlier asked Canadians for their input on a new code, with the most-common suggestions including:
- A clearer understanding of wireless service fees.
- The ability to unlock cellphone on reasonable terms.
- The ability to set a cap on additional fees.
- Online tools to monitor usage and any additional fees.
A draft “wireless code” was released by the agency late last month and included the possibility of cancelling contracts when the provider changes key terms, clear limits on contract terms and penalties, and a monthly bill cap with extra fees are incurred. The new draft guidelines also provides recourse for consumers -- up to $5,000 in compensation if the code is violated.
The CRTC is asking for the public’s feedback on its draft wireless code until the hearing wraps up on Feb. 15.
Comments about the draft copy posted on the CRTC’s website shows that one of the public’s primary complaints is that the proposed code does not address three-year contract terms, which is longer than the majority of developed countries.
“Three years is a long time in the current technology industry and only providing Canadian with this option is unjust,” reads the number one ‘liked’ comment on the CRTC feedback portal. “We should follow in the footsteps of many other countries and limit these contracts to two years maximum.”
Canada’s big three wireless providers, Telus, Rogers, and Bell -- which owns CTV -- say they welcome a new code of conduct that will help in improving customer service.