Today, the national telecom watchdog is inviting Canadians to share their experiences with the Wireless Code – the CRTC’s released consumers’ rights and rules for telecom providers which is aimed at providing consumers more protection and say over the products and services they purchase from telecom providers. The Wireless Code came into force three years ago.
Starting today until February 14th, the CRTC is holding an online discussion forum.
All comments made by Canadians during the online consultation will be considered as part of the review of the Wireless Code.
The CRTC is also holding a public hearing on the Wireless Code in the National Capital Region from February 6-9, 2017, to assess its effectiveness and whether it should be updated to reflect the evolution of the wireless market.
“We are giving Canadians another opportunity to share their opinions about the Wireless Code, and how it’s responding to their needs,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the CRTC. “We want to hear what they have to say about the Code because it is designed to reflect and adapt to their needs in an ever-changing marketplace.”
The 2016 fall survey results indicate that customers primarily complained to their service providers about incorrect charges on their bill, data charges, poor service quality and misleading contract terms.
According to the survey, Canadians did not lodge complaints with the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunication Services (CCTS), by and large, because 69 per cent did not know about the CCTS, 13 per cent did not feel it was worth the effort and 9 per cent felt it would not resolve their issue.
However, bill shock remains an issue for one-in-five Canadians. In 2016, 21 per cent of Canadians reported having experienced bill shock, down from 28 per cent in 2014. Canadians identified data overage fees (48 per cent) and international roaming charges (17 per cent) as the main reasons for bill shock in 2016.
Under the code, customers are supposed to be offered by providers, the option of signing three-year contracts again so the cost of so-called zero-dollar phones can be amortized over 36 months, allowing carriers to offer cheaper rates.
Service providers can charge consumers for the residual value of subsidized cellphone hardware if they cancel their contracts early. For example, a customer could be charged $300 if they cancel a two-year contract after one year if the initial value of the incentivized phone was set at $600.
The code does not allow carriers to recover the cost of other promotional items, such as new TVs or tablets.
However, carriers have expressed the desire to be able to recoup the cost of items offered for free to customers as incentives to sign a contract.
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