Mobile plans - Charged for cancelled service

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  • If you ask for your cell phone contract to be cancelled, you should expect it to be cancelled on the day that the service provider gets your request.
  • If you're trying to cancel your contract before it's due to end, you may be charged an early cancellation fee.
  • Any early cancellation fee should be outlined in your contract in clear, simple English!
  • If you get a phone at a reduced upfront price as part of your contract (called a "device subsidy"), then any early cancellation fee has to be less than the amount of your device subsidy.
  • The fee should get lower and lower every month until it hits $0 after 24 months.
  • If your fixed-term contract doesn't include a phone at a reduced price, then the fee should be either less than $50 or less than 10% of the total remaining monthly payments you'd have to make if you stayed in your contract.
  • It should get lower and lower every month until it hits $0 after 24 months.
  • If your contract is open ended (i.e. it doesn't have a specified end-date), you shouldn't be charged a cancellation fee at all! When you sign up to a contract with an early cancellation fee, you have to be given a trial period of at least 15 days to make sure that the service is what you're looking for.
  • The trial period for customers who self-identify as having a disability is slightly longer at 30 days. You shouldn't be charged for cancelling during the trial period.
You should know

The Wireless Code

The Wireless Code was made by the CRTC to help make it easier for Canadian consumers to navigate the telecoms market. It applies to any mobile wireless voice and data services and sets out the rules for dealing with a number of issues relating to your contract, including cancellation fees (allowing you to cancel your contract after 2 years with no cancellation fees even if you’ve agreed a longer term), a limit on data and roaming charges, unlocked cell phones, trial periods and clear language.

PAD – Pre-Authorized Debit

If you’re paying via PAD, you’ll have some protection from unauthorized transactions. Anyone taking money via PAD has to have a reimbursement statement in their agreement, giving you the right to receive reimbursement for any unauthorized debit or debit that isn’t consistent with the PAD (for example, a payment for an incorrect amount).

Generally speaking, you’ve got 90 days from the date of the withdrawal to report an incorrect or unauthorized PAD.

CCTS – Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services

The CCTS is an independent organization that handles complaints about telecoms and television services in Canada.

If the service provider you’re raising a complaint about can’t resolve the matter for you, you can escalate your case to the CCTS. If the CCTS accepts your complaint, they’ll consider your case and issue a recommendation.

Either you or the service provider can reject the recommendation if you aren’t happy with it. The CCTS will then consider your reasons for rejecting the recommendation and issue a final decision on the matter.

The final decision is binding on the service provider but not on you – meaning you can still reject it at any point. 

CRTC – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications 

The CRTC is the independent public authority that’s in charge of regulating and supervising Canadian telecoms and TV services. Generally speaking, the CRTC makes high level decisions about the sector.

The majority of complaints should go through the CCTS, who can make recommendations and decisions on specific cases. The CRTC will take note of broader issues and come up with new rules to promote a fairer environment for consumers.

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