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Nova Scotia Proposes Law to Make Cellphone Fees Transparent

Nova Scotia’s NDP government has proposed a law to allow consumers to cancel contracts at any time for $50 max, and also to eliminate hidden fees. Here’s what the new law would bring:

– cancellation fees capped at $50
– no automatic renewal of contracts
– customer permission required to change fees, service options or contract terms
– carriers would be required to clearly state the real cost of any deals or promotions
– carriers to provide customers with info about cyberbullying

These changes would only apply to contracts signed after the law is passed. Other provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Manitoba have similar laws. Ontario currently has a similar law in process.

John MacDonell, Nova Scotia’s minister responsible for consumer affairs, said some service providers stuff a lot into their contracts.

“I think quite often you have to take the whole package, and I think sometimes there may be things after they signed up they think, ‘I probably didn’t need that,'” he said.

According to Cameron McNeil from Service Nova Scotia, this law would rebalance the relationship between carriers and their customers:

“What consumers have told us is that they get confused by these introductory offers that are made and are unaware that after a period of time, whether it be three months or six months or whatever, that that introductory rate goes away, and then they’re back onto a regular rate and they feel they’ve been … broadsided by that,” he said.

This is fantastic news for Nova Scotians. It’s only a matter of time before other provinces jump on board to similar laws.

[via CBC]

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • aRhyno

    I think some of these demands are dumb. the user needs to be somewhat responsible here.
    I think there should just be better warnings and up to date notifications when going beyond your plan and even freezing users accounts when crossing the line of extra cost just like pay as you go. for the users that don’t want freezing, they can  manually opt out of it at any time.

    contract is for a reason, they are giving you a costly product and want there return just like any business. what’s to stop me from getting an iPhone and cancelling after 2 days for 50. no that’s a bad demand.

    if your going into expensive areas with your phone like over seas etc, it should properly list prices, and warn customers of what they are being charged instead of them just thinking, oh it will only cost me a few dollars and a month later get 200$ bill. that should be fixed.  

    the demands here are fine though
    – no automatic renewal of contracts- customer permission required to change fees, service options or contract terms- carriers would be required to clearly state the real cost of any deals or promotions- carriers to provide customers with info about cyberbullying 

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    Part of the $50 max cancellation would require repaying subsidies.

    I do agree customers are also responsible when signing on the dotted line, but nowadays there’s so much fine print it’s definitely not easy to find out the real cost of ‘deals’.

    Too many plans and options are out there that just confuse customers.

  • aRhyno

    i agree. 
    carriers would be required to clearly state the real cost of any deals or promotions- (which i agree with) like other services such as eastlink and bell tv service, they say 120 a month for bundle x (150 a month after 6 months).  normally right in the offer. which should work for cell phones, but i have not seen in my area hidden fees or cheaper plans that go up over time for cellphones so i have no experience with it. although i normally get what i want now any ways thanks to cancellations department lol…

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    Negotiating with the retentions dept. is now a sport amongst friends to get the ‘best’ deal.

  • aRhyno

    ya, i got my wife there new fab 60 plan this month for 54 a month with caller id and message center, lol. she was happy. and it really took no effort at all, i told them i was thinking about going to telus and they offered it on the spot. waved the 35 $ fee as well.

  • aRhyno

    honestly i think the biggest problem is no notification of what your being charged when doing something, there should be soft caps. or freezing. 

    kind of like when ya go to a hotel room and that bottle of water sitting on the desk is there. so ya drink it and ya get a 5$ charge when ya check out lol.

  • Jd2157

    Wish phone unlocking was included in this legislation…