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Province out to eliminate ‘cell shock’

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The Ontario government is taking strong action to help eliminate the shock many consumers get from opening their cellphone and wireless services bills.

The province is introducing legislation to make it easier to understand the costs and terms of wireless services agreements while ensuring service providers are upfront with information before contracts are signed.

Here’s how consumers will benefit if the legislation is passed:

  • contracts will be written in plain language;
  • contracts would spell out which services come with the basic fee, and which would result in a higher bill;
  • providers must get it in writing before they renew or amend a contract;
  • a cap on the cost of cancelling a contract; and
  • only a modest fee for walking away from fixed-term contracts.

Taking strong action to protect Ontario consumers is part of the McGuinty government’s commitment to educate, protect, and serve Ontarians by ensuring a fair and safe marketplace.

“We want to eliminate the ‘cell shock’ many people experience because the terms of their agreements lack clarity,” said Consumer Services minister Margarett Best.

“Service providers should give people the information they need so they understand the terms, and all costs of any cellphone and wireless services agreements they sign,” she added.

The proposed legislation, which would affect new contracts, would take effect six months after being passed.

It also would cover existing agreements that are amended, renewed, or extended after that date.

More than 70 percent of Ontarians have a wireless services agreement.

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