Cellphone Legislation Takes Effect May 1

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

April 30, 2013 12:38 PM

Cellphone users in Nova Scotia now have greater protection with changes to the Consumer Protection Act that take effect Wednesday, May 1.

Cellphone service providers now must give Nova Scotians a one-page information sheet, Be a Responsible Digital Citizen, when they sign a contract, and ensure cellphone contracts are clear and fair.

"Protecting Nova Scotians in the digital world isn't just about better cellphone contracts," said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell. "Providing educational materials that support responsible cellphone use is just one example of how government is working to protect consumers from the devastating effects of cyberbullying."

While bullying is nothing new, cellphones have brought the activities to a new level, allowing people to remain anonymous when sending harassing or humiliating messages. This can make it easier for people to be more hurtful and say things they normally would not say to someone's face.

"Eastlink takes very seriously the critical issue of cyberbullying and its devastating impact on so many people," said Eastlink CEO Lee Bragg. "As a provider of Internet and cellular phone services, we believe that education on the responsible use of communications technology is necessary if Canadians are to put a stop to cyberbullying.

"Eastlink is pleased to make the province's information sheet and other educational information available in our stores and on our website. We further support the province's broader consumer legislation coming into effect today, which promotes fairness and clarity in cellphone contracts."

Cellphone companies now have to 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 the consumer's permission.

People who enter into, or renew, contracts after May 1 will 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 are still responsible for buying their equipment if they cancel early.

"I encourage consumers to be sure they understand their contracts before signing them," said Mr. MacDonell.

The amendments only apply to consumer contracts signed after May 1.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Cellphone users in Nova Scotia now have greater protection

with changes to the Consumer Protection Act that take effect

Wednesday (May 1st).

     Cellphone service providers now must give Nova Scotians the

one-page information sheet Be a Responsible Digital Citizen when

they sign a contract, and ensure cellphone contracts are clear

and fair.

     Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John

MacDonell says providing educational materials about responsible

cellphone use is just one example of how government is working to

protect consumers from the devastating effects of cyberbullying.

     Cellphone companies now have to provide more information

about minimum monthly costs and include it in advertising. They

also can't change major parts of a contract without the

consumer's permission.

     People who enter into, or renew, contracts after May 1st

will be able to cancel their contract at any time for as little

as 50 dollars but are still responsible for buying their

equipment.

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Media Contact: Tracy Barron
              902-424-2733
              E-mail: BARRONTB@gov.ns.ca