Here’s How Canada’s New Cell Phone Contract Rules Work, In Case You’re Like Me And Didn’t Already Know

Generally I’m right on top of this sort of thing, but until this very moment I hadn’t a clue that Canada’s new wireless rules had taken effect. Last I heard, the hopefully doomed to fail appeal of many of the more consumer friendly portions of the code launched by the phone companies was still making its way through the courts, but hadn’t officially been deemed doomed. but as it turns out, the legal system put the telcos out of their misery back in May and as of June 3rd, 2015, we have new regulations.

This is the part of the song where I get annoyed by my inability to pay attention to things. Had I been on the ball, I could have replaced my shitty old phone with a newer, less shitty one much sooner instead of waiting until basically now when the contract I entered into under the old system ends. Ay to be, jackass.

So in the hopes that I can keep some of you from making the same mistake I did, here’s a rundown of how all of this works now.

Contracts started before June 3, 2013
People with three-year contracts that have lasted more than two years can cancel their plans without paying any cancellation fees, according to CCTS. This applies to anyone who signed a three-year contract before June 3, 2013.
The wireless code mandates that carriers can’t charge cancellation fees after 24 months.

Obviously we’re well beyond June 3rd at this point, which means that the 24 months and beyond threshold has moved. So if you remember when you got your last new phone, a wee bit of math so simple that even I can do it will tell you what applies to you and when. Ditto for the rest of this, of course.

Contracts started June 3, 2013, to Dec. 2, 2013
However, not everyone has held their contract for more than two years.
People who started their contract between June 3 and Dec. 2, 2013, can cancel their contracts. But they will have to pay at most $50 to do so.

The carrier will calculate 10 per cent of “the minimum monthly charge for the remaining months of the contract,” according to CCTS.

Contracts started after June 3, 2013, with a device subsidy
Some individuals may have contracts that came with a device subsidy, meaning the carrier offered a cellphone at a reduced price and built payments into the contract to make up the difference.
Carriers are able to recover some of the remaining device costs from people who want to cancel their contracts that were signed between June 3 and Dec. 2, 2013.
The CCTS offers a formula for calculating that cancellation fee. Carriers will have to divide the original device subsidy amount by 24 months, which is the amount of time the code allows carriers to recoup a device subsidy. They will then multiply that number by the number of months the contract has already lasted, and then subtract it from the original device subsidy amount.
For example, a three-year contract started on Nov. 5, 2013 with a device subsidy of $240 cancelled on June 10 would cost the customer a $40 early cancellation fee.

Contracts started after Dec. 2, 2013
All wireless code protections already apply to people who entered into contracts after Dec. 2, 2013.
These protections, in addition to $0 early cancellation fees after two years, include allowing customers to:
■Cancel a new contract and return the phone at no cost (provided customers stay within usage limits) within 15 days if they are unhappy with service.
■Refuse changes to key contract terms and conditions, including services and prices, for the contract’s duration.
■Get a plain language summary of services.
■Cap excess data charges above plan limits at $50 a month.

Enjoy your new phones, everyone.

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