Province Makes Cellphone Contracts Fairer

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (to March 31, 2014)

February 15, 2013 10:02 AM

NOTE: A social media version of this release is available at http://novascotia.ca/news/smr/2013-02-15-Cellphone-Contracts/. Hi-res downloadable photos, audio and video clips will be added after the event.

The province is addressing Nova Scotians' concerns about cellphone contracts with changes announced today, Feb. 15.

The Consumer Protection Act regulates cellphone contracts and protects consumers who enter into, or renew, contracts beginning May 1.

"Many Nova Scotians told us they felt trapped by their cellphone contracts, which is why we took action and passed this legislation," said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell. "We're making sure Nova Scotians have access to clear and fair cellphone contracts that they can cancel at any time without huge penalties."

Cellphone companies must provide more information about minimum monthly costs and include it in advertising. Providers will not be able to change major parts of a contract, including services, costs, fees or locations where the phone can be used, without consumers' permission.

Consumers will also be able to cancel their contract at any time. Nova Scotians who are unhappy with their service and decide to change providers could pay as little as $50 to cancel contracts. Consumers will still be responsible for buying out equipment if they cancel early.

"Students are a highly mobile population with tight budgets. They depend on cellphones as their primary means to stay connected with family, friends and employers," said Jonathan Williams, executive director of Students Nova Scotia. "These changes will definitely help protect university and college students from unclear and unfair contracts."

The amendments only apply to consumer contracts signed after the regulations come into effect May 1. Consumers are encouraged to be sure they understand contracts before signing.

More information about the changes is available at http://accessns.ca/consumer-purchases.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province is addressing Nova Scotians' concerns about

cellphone contracts with changes announced today

(February 15th).

     The Consumer Protection Act regulates cellphone contracts

and protects consumers who enter into, or renew, contracts

beginning May 1st.

     Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John

MacDonell says many Nova Scotians told government they felt

trapped by their cellphone contracts. He says the province is

making sure Nova Scotians have access to clear and fair

cellphone contracts that they can cancel at any time without

huge penalties.

     Cellphone companies must provide more information about

minimum monthly costs and include it in advertising and

providers will not be able to change major parts of a contract

without consumers' permission.

     Consumers will also be able to cancel contracts and pay as

little as 50 dollars in fees. Consumers will still be

responsible for buying out equipment if they cancel early.

     More information about the changes is available at access

n-s dot c-a slash consumer hyphen purchases .

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Media Contacts: Susan Tate
                Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
                902-424-0112
                E-mail: tatese@gov.ns.ca

                Elizabeth MacDonald
                Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
                902-424-2733
                E-mail: MACDOEA@gov.ns.ca