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CRTC bans unlocking fees

Cellphone companies will soon no longer be allowed to charge customers to unlock their devices under sweeping changes to Canada's wireless code of conduct announced today.

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 is making several other changes to the code that it says will give Canadians more control over their wireless services.

The updated code, which originally came into effect in 2013, now stipulates:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wireless service providers cannot unilaterally change the key terms of a contract with a customer for voice, text or data services.


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