Ammendments to the Consumer Protection Act introduced today, April 27, continue the province’s efforts to safeguard consumer rights in Nova Scotia. The changes allow the province to respond to public concerns around long-term cellphone contracts, silent extensions, high cancellation and other fees, and concerns about cellphone use and cyberbullying.
“Nova Scotians have told us they feel trapped in their cell phone contracts and they want changes that removes hidden fees or price jumps and allows them to switch providers if they are unhappy with the service without heavy penalties,” said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell.
“Today’s legislation will provide people with what they are asking for and will give clear and informed options so people can choose what’s right for them and their family.”
Some of the protections proposed include:
– letting customers cancel their contract at any time, and limiting contract cancellation fees to no more than $50. Customers will still be responsible for buying out their equipment if they cancel the contract early.
– restricting automatic contract renewals or extensions
– requiring cellphone service providers to include consumer protection information on responsible cellphone use and cyberbullying with the service contract
Cellphone companies will also be required to provide more information about minimum monthly costs in advertising, not just the low-cost introductory offers. Providers will not be able to change major parts of the contract, including service options, costs, fees, or areas of use without customer permission.
The proposed amendments apply to consumer contracts only, and would only affect new contracts signed after the regulations come into effect.
Quebec, Manitoba, and Newfoundland and Labrador have passed similar legislation and Ontario has also announced its intention to regulate wireless service contracts.