News release

Province Makes Cellphone Contracts Fairer

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:
Elizabeth MacDonald
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-2733 E-mail: