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June 3 is Cell Phone Freedom Day!

Good news Canada! June 3, 2015 is Cell Phone Freedom Day. Starting next Wednesday, three year contracts which have run for 24 months or more can be cancelled without any penalties. For example, if you entered into a 3-year cell phone contract on June 3, 2013, you now have the option of ending that contract on June 3, 2015, without penalty.

Not only do you get an effective end to 3-year contracts, you also get all of the great new protections introduced by the Cell Phone Code of Conduct, including:

  • Caps on data and roaming charges to avoid “bill shock”, including a $100 cap when using wireless data abroad, and a $50 cap on wireless data overage charges in Canada. Telecom providers will need to get your express consent before charging you anything more than these amounts.

  • You’ll have the right to unlock your phone 90 days after purchase. Unlocking your phone enables you to use it on other networks - including networks in other countries. This can really save you money when travelling abroad or moving to a different provider.

  • Your contract must be written in clear language. No more legalese (or at least, less legalese).

  • And finally, if you’re not happy with your service you can return your phone within 15 days with no penalty.

Now, there is one bit of fine print we need to point out. If you signed a 3-year contract between June 3, 2013 and December 2, 2013 – the latter date being when the code first came into effect – then you will have run less than 24 months and MAY be required to pay a small cancellation fee, but that fee is determined through a formula that the CRTC created. If you fall into this bucket of people, you can learn more about how that fee would look like thanks to this document put together by the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom Services (CCTS).

As I have detailed elsewhere, these positive changes would have never happened without tens of thousands of Canadians speaking out and sharing their Cell Phone Horror Stories with us. Together, we made this Code of Conduct happen by turning those stories into our crowdsourced action plan for the future of our wireless market, and taking our detailed submission to key decision-makers at the CRTC. Then, after much deliberation from the regulator, we won!

But before we knew it, things got messy. Bell dragged everyday Canadians to court to delay the implementation of these new customer protections. They even wanted to keep you trapped paying their high fees until sometime in 2016! But OpenMedia went to court on behalf of cellphone users everywhere and, with our expert lawyers at CIPPIC, made sure your voices were heard. And of course, we won 😊

Together we stood up, and together we triumphed. First we won the rules, and then when Big Telecom pushed back, we went to court and won again. This is huge, and never would have happened without your support.

Now, to get ready for Cell Phone Freedom Day on June 3, we recommend you kick back, crack a beer (or pop!), and check out this great highlight reel of the insane things that Big Telecom executives said (in vain, as it turned out) during the hearing that would determine the future of customer protection rules for all cell phone users in Canada:



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