Ontario Liberals introduce legislation to tackle cellular bills - again

Cellular customers still getting gauged by high costs and unexpected fees; Ontario says it will introduce new legislation.

Toronto (13 April 2012) - The Ontario Liberal government has announced it will introduce legislation to rein in unreasonable cellular bills.

Consumer complaints continue to rise as cellular companies make changes to contracts and services which cost the public more than they agreed to, each and every month. Unanticipated charges for services, costly changes mid-contract and expensive contract termination fees have increased the number of complaints.

While the telecommunications industry is federally regulated, the Conservative government has proven itself unwilling to intervene on behalf of consumers so Ontario Consumer Services Minister Margaret Best has decided to act.

The new legislation will require :

  • a cap on the cost of cancelling a contract/only a "modest fee" charge for leaving fixed-term contracts;
  • notice to consumers of any changes to their contract;
  • consumer consent to renew, extend or amend a contract;
  • the use of plain language in contracts;
  • the inclusion of an all-inclusive price advertising for cellphone plans;
  • a relief from the accrual of charges for services while devices under warranty are being repaired; and 
  • notice to consumers who are about to incur additional charges for exceeding service limits.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has previously pointed out, the voluntary code of conduct governing the telecom industry and cellular companies is toothless. Real, enforceable legislation is required to ensure consumers are protected.

David Orazietti, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Sault Ste. Marie, along side Minister Best blasted the Harper's Conservatives for lettting the public down on the issue of cell phone costs and oversight.

Yet, this isn't the first time such legislation has been introduced in the Legislature. In 2010, Orzotti put forward a private member's bill suggesting many of the same points now found in this Minister-sponsored bill. 

Even with the introduction of this legislation, the Minister could not confirm when the bill would be tabled.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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