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Leave 'em whenever you want
November 06, 2014
By Celia Sankar
Fed up with your cable company, Internet service provider, or provider of your land line? Good news, you can now drop them at will.
The telecom watchdog handed a welcome victory to consumers, today. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that, starting next January, you can cancel your home phone, Internet, or broadcast service at any time.
This puts an end to the frustration consumers have faced for years in which you were told you had to give 30 days' notice before you could leave a provider.
As the DiversityCanada Foundation and the National Pensioners Federation (DiversityCanada/NPF) argued before the CRTC, the 30-day cancellation policy was unfair to consumers. It meant you ended up having to pay both the old provider (for a service you no longer wanted), and the new one (if you switched companies within the 30 days to ensure no service interruption).
Today's announcement by the CRTC follows its decision in June 2013 to ban the 30-day notice requirement for wireless service customers who wanted to switch providers.
That development prompted a small, regional Internet provider to request that the CRTC prohibit telecom and broadcast providers from preventing consumers of any service from cancelling at will.
During the CRTC's deliberations on the matter, DiversityCanada/NPF pointed out to the regulator that consumers who wanted to switch often were subjected to a relentless onslaught by the customer retention department of the existing provider, during the notice period.
“It is clear that the primary purpose of the 30-day delay is to give the customer retention department time – at the consumer's expense – to make up for the failures of the current provider's marketing
department (which hadn't previously made a sufficiently competitive offer), or customer service or technical support departments (whose level of service may have alienated the customer),” DiversityCanada/NPF noted.
The telecom regulator listened, and has issued a good, common sense decision which should allow consumers to more freely make choices in the Canadian telecom and broadcast market.
The 30-day cancellation policy, like the prepaid wireless balance expiry policy (which prompted DiversityCanada/NPF to start campaigning on behalf of consumers) was abusive and reflected the unhealthy balance of power between service providers and their customers. We will continue to fight to ensure consumers' voices are heard so that they receive fairer treatment from broadcast and telecom service providers.