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The Canadian telecom regulator just banned carriers from locking phones

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecom Commission has just revised the wireless code for telecom providers, banning the locking of devices sold to customers.

Published onJune 15, 2017

Canada has just had a sweeping review of the current Wireless Code, which helps to define the rules and regulation that telecom providers have to adhere by. This code was first introduced back in June of 2015 to help protect consumers’ rights against big telecom. Two years later, the country has decided to review the code and has found a number of things that needed changing, including the process of unlocking phones for consumers.

The newly revised code says that as of December 1, 2017, any wireless consumer will have the right to get their mobile phones unlocked from their carrier free of charge. Additionally, carriers will not be able to lock devices for sale at that point forward, and will have to start selling completely unlocked phones to consumers. Previously, carriers were able to charge customers to get their handsets with unlocked, with some charging up to $50 CAD.

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The Canadian Radio and Telecom Commission (CRTC) has also opted to change the trial period in which customers can cancel their contracts. Currently, many providers only allow for 30 minutes of voice usage and 50 MB of data, which could both be used up extremely quickly. The new code says that customers will have up to 15 days and 50% of their monthly voice and data usage before they are unable to cancel these contracts. In addition, Canadians with disabilities will have double this period, with 30 days and 100% of their monthly usage before they are unable to cancel their contracts free of charge. Also, if a customer cancels their contract the carrier is forced to make the cancellation effective immediately. In the past, customers had to wait 30 days for their contract to be completely canceled.

A few other small things have been clarified as well, including requiring the account holder to consent to overage fees higher than the $50 data overage cap and $100 roaming overage cap. It doesn’t matter how many devices are on the account, as long as the primary account holder or other authorized users consent to the fees. In addition, carriers will be required to suspend service when roaming fees reach $100, in which case customers will receive a text asking if they would like to use more.

It’s good to see government working to keep consumer rights in check, and we could probably use a reform like this in the United States as well.

What’s your opinion on these changes? Do they affect you? Let us know in the comments below.

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