If You Want To Cancel Your Telephone, Internet Or Television Service, Wait Until January 23rd, 2015

When this news broke in November, we were right smack in the middle of one of the worst parts of Carin’s illness so I completely missed it. But it’s just as important now as it was then, so better late than never as we say far too often around here.

If, as we are, you’re looking to either move your landline telephone, TV or internet service to another provider or cancel it outright, January 23rd is your lucky day. It’s lucky because as of that day, Canadian companies are no longer allowed to force a 30 day notice period on you before they’ll honour your cancellation request, so sayeth the CRTC. Here is the commission’s ruling on the matter, and here is a news article that says basically the same thing but in far fewer words.

It’s about time this happened, and I applaud the CRTC for finally doing away with this completely garbage practice.

Years ago, 30 days notice made some sense. When you connected or disconnected a service, a living, breathing human being would have to go out and do the hooking and unhooking. But that was years ago. For at least the last 16 and probably longer but that’s all I can personally speak to, Bell has been able to turn your phone and its associated services on and off remotely from its call centres. The only time somebody needs to be sent out now is when a remote connection doesn’t work, which has happened to me 2 out of the 5 times I’ve either needed to move or establish service. All of my disconnections have gone without incident, which makes 30 days notice seem quite useless and very much like the money grab it is.

If it isn’t already obvious that big telecom companies look at us less like customers and more like ATMs, think about this for 5 or 10 seconds. Even though they don’t have to, they’re more than happy to bill you for an entire month of service you aren’t actually getting because a loophole from a different technological time allows them to. They do this for 2 reasons: 1. They’re wringing every last possible cent out of you that they legally can and 2. By essentially double billing you since you’ll have to pay service fees to your new provider if you’re switching as well as your final month with your current one, you might decide to stay where you are even though you’re not happy just because it’s cheaper in the short-term. It’s anti-competitive, greedy horseshit, and we should all be glad that in 11 days it’s going to be gone.

Oh, and a word of advice while I’m here. If you’re going to try to cancel before the 23rd, be careful how you do it. Rather than calling your provider and saying you’d like to cancel your service now, ask how long it takes for a cancellation request to take effect once someone asks. In the case of Bell who I spoke to this morning they’re sticking to the 30 days thing right to the end, quelle surprise. So had I started the cancellation process by saying I’d like to cancel, I’d be on the hook for bills into mid February as opposed to the less expensive 11 days I’m forced to wait now. But if your company says that cancellation is immediate or close (entirely possible since some companies support the change), then by all means say to them ok, then I’d like to cancel my account. It should leave them a lot less room to worm out of what they just told you if you do it that way.

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