Consumer rights group the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is pushing for the creation of a comprehensive “Wireless Code” that it claims could solve many of the aggravating problems that consumers have with wireless service providers.
Representing the Consumers’ Association of Canada and Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia in oral hearings before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on Monday, PIAC discussed closing loopholes and improving the CRTC’s draft Wireless Code. According to PIAC, the code has the potential to revolutionize consumer rights to receive fair and understandable service from their cellphone providers.
“Canadians need a Wireless Code to improve contracts, allow them to switch carriers without unfair termination fees, and limit bill shock,” said John Lawford, co-counsel for PIAC, in a statement. “We will ensure the CRTC takes its responsibility to get this right for consumers very seriously.”
PIAC focused on five key areas of consumer protection in its statement:
* Notification of extra charges and monetary caps on those charges
* Prohibition of unilateral changes to contracts by wireless companies
* A fair termination fee formula so consumers know the cost of switching carriers
* Unlocking of cellphones
* Effective enforcement of the Wireless Code
“We emphasized the collective responsibility of wireless carriers, the CRTC and consumer groups to respond to the needs of wireless consumers,” said Janet Lo, co-counsel for PIAC, in a statement. “Consumers want and deserve a Wireless Code now.”
The CRTC has said previously that a code is needed because consumers are often confused about the terms and conditions of their wireless contracts, which vary greatly from company to company. The code is to cover services such as those related to smartphones, texting, voice, mobile Internet and video access via smartphones.