CRTC Bans Cell Phone Unlocking Charges

07 December 2017

CRTC Bans Cell Phone Unlocking Charges

Good news. Taking your cell phone to another network just got easier and cheaper. As of December 1, new phones on a wireless service plan will come unlocked. 

Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, in response to escalating consumer complaints about lack of wireless plan transparency, added new rules to its Wireless Code of Conduct in June which should help eliminate the all-too-common bill shock on your cell phone bill. 

 New devices come unlocked

The significance of having new phones unlocked is the ability to switch carriers and shop around for the best plan and prices. Also, using your phone overseas will be a lot easier; you're now able to swap SIM cards without incurring the dreaded unlocking fee.  

Changes in data overage consent

Another consumer benefit involves new procedures regarding consenting to data overages. Now on shared family plans, only the account holder, not any device holder, can agree to extra data or roaming charges. 

This change puts the parents back in the driver's seat now that mom and dad will be making the decisions about how much data their teenagers stream away on YouTube. 

More contract transparency

In order to help wireless users clearly understand the terms of their service contracts and avoid misleading caveats and fine print trickery, the code of conduct was amended. The new guidelines include:

  • Contracts must be in plain language.
  • The service provider must give a permanent electronic or paper copy of the contract, whichever the customer prefers.
  • The contract must clearly spell out minimum monthly charges and optional charges.
  • There must be a tool for customers to determine how much data they are using and potential roaming costs.



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