No more unlocking fees, says CRTC

Telecom regulator bans cellphone unlocking fees, clarifies rules for so-called family plans

Cellphone companies will soon no longer be allowed to charge customers to unlock their devices under forthcoming changes to Canada’s wireless code of conduct.

The new code from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission also says all newly purchased devices must be unlocked, beginning Dec. 1.

The telecom regulator also says unsatisfied customers will be able to cancel contracts within 15 days, as long as the returned devices are in near-new condition and they haven’t used more than half of their monthly usage.

The regulator is also clarifying that only the wireless account holder on family or shared plans can consent to overage and roaming charges, unless others on the plan are expressly authorized to approve the costs.

Data caps will also be tied to single accounts, no matter how many devices are listed on a shared plan.

The CRTC says wireless service providers cannot unilaterally change the key terms of a contract with a customer for voice, text or data services.

The changes come six months after the regulator heard from consumer groups, who said some cellphone companies were violating the code, either passively or actively, and called for the rules to be tightened and enforced.

The Canadian Press

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