Ontario laughs at the free market lovers -- again.


mentalfloss
#1
Ontario bill targets cellphone contracts and prices

Ontario is hanging up on “price gouging” by mobile phone companies with legislation that would cap the costs of cancelling service, provide up-front pricing details and plain-language contracts.

The law from Consumer Minister Margarett Best incorporates two previous private member’s bills by Liberal MPP David Orazietti in an effort to ease “cell shock” when customers open their invoices.

But it does not address concerns about voice, data and texting costs because they are regulated federally, Orazietti (Sault Ste. Marie) told reporters Thursday, urging Ottawa to open the industry to more competition that could lower prices.

“Canadians are paying the highest cellphone prices out of 11 countries in a recent survey,” said Orazietti, whose two previous attempts to get his legislation approved had all-party support.

Best said beefs about cellphone bills are among the top 10 complaints received by her ministry.

“This is a pocketbook issue consumers want addressed,” said Orazietti. “Bill shock is a common problem.”

But costs of complying with the legislation “could see costs rise for consumers,” warned Marc Choma of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, a group representing major players in the cellphone industry dominated by Bell, Rogers and Telus.

The bill, however, was applauded by WIND Mobile as “what is needed to keep the traditional wireless carriers from abusing their market power,” said chief executive Anthony Lacavera.

“We need to remove the barriers that prevent consumers from taking advantage of increased choice and better value.”

If passed by the Legislature under the minority Liberal government — which is now casting for NDP support if its budget to avoid a late May election — the law would cap “exhorbitant” cancellation fees for fixed-term phone contracts at $50.

Some carriers have charged as much as $400 to $600 for cancellations.

Better consumer protection on cancellations is long overdue, said Michael Janigan, of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

“We want a thriving rivalry in the wireless market, not one where customers are locked into plans and contracts that no longer serve their needs.”

Contracts would also have to be written in plain language so consumers can understand them more easily and would have to spell out clearly which services are covered by the basic fee and which are extra.

The legislation would also require customers be notified when they are about to go above their voice, data and testing limits, incurring extra charges.

Choma said the bill — similar to legislation in Quebec and Manitoba — could put Ontario cellphone users at a disadvantage “through the addition of expensive government bureaucracy that could possibly interfere with the price, choice and level of services.”

Orazietti countered that the enforcement of the bill will come at minimal or no cost to the government.

The association said it would prefer the federal government set national standards “if further consumer protection measures are deemed necessary.”

But whether the legislation will be passed remains unclear.

Ministry officials said the bill will be introduced within two weeks, while the Legislature is tied up in debate on the budget with a final vote by April 25.

If the fiscal blueprint is defeated, forcing an election, the cellphone bill would die.

“It’s kind of passing strange, this timing,” said Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman (Thornhill), adding the Tories “cautiously support” the legislation to help consumers but need to see details.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said her party is also eager to see the proposed legislation.

“Anything that helps with the affordability of everyday life we’re interested in looking at.”

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/p...hone-companies
 
petros
+1 / -1
#2  Top Rated Post
Legislation for those to stupid too read and understand contracts. It's gonna cost ya!
Last edited by petros; Apr 13th, 2012 at 08:31 AM..
 
mentalfloss
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Legislation for those to stupid to read and understand contracts. It's gonna cost ya!

One would hope the legislation is intelligent enough to prevent these corporations from gouging consumers in some other insidious way.
 
petros
#4
Why are consumers too stupid to read before they sign?
 
taxslave
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Why are consumers too stupid to read before they sign?

A fool and his money are soon parted.
 
mentalfloss
#6
Who knew that the free marketeers would be corporatists in disguise.

It's okay, everyone. A free market eventually settles itself and the consumer ultimately benefits in the end.

Ontario to curb cellphone 'bill shock'
Will force firms to be upfront about costs

The Ontario government is moving to curb "bill shock" for customers of wireless companies like Rogers Communications Inc., Bell Mobility and Telus Corp., announcing Thursday plans to introduce legislation that forces providers to simplify costs and be "upfront" with users.

Following up on legislation first tabled by Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti last year, the Mc-Guinty Liberal government said it will "make it easier to understand the costs and terms of wireless services agreements while ensuring service providers are upfront with information before contracts are signed."

The legislation must first pass a vote in the provincial legislature. If made law, the new rules will make it easier to break contracts, limit fees attached to cancelling a contract and force mobile operators to get written confirmation from customers before renewing or amending a contract.

A news release stated the proposed bill represents, "strong action to protect Ontario consumers ... ensuring a fair and safe marketplace."

Cellphone companies have moved in recent years to end-run such consumer protection legislative efforts, which have now seen bills passed or entering into reading in Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario.

Rogers, Bell and Telus have each made changes to their contract plans, lowered fees and introduced new offers on device upgrades critics say have improved how customers are treated.

The entrance into the market of new mobile competitors such as Wind Mobile, Mobilicity and Public Mobile has also forced the three incumbent operators to focus on customer service, which has historically been derided by advocacy groups as purposely misleading.

The Ontario government said the proposed legislation will take effect six months after being passed. It would also cover existing agreements that are amended, renewed or extended after that date.

Ontario to curb cellphone 'bill shock'
 
petros
#7
It's okay. Consumers are getting stupider and stupider.
 
mentalfloss
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

It's okay. Consumers are getting stupider and stupider.

You mean to say "freer and freer". You know - in commemoration of how successful the free telecom market has been for consumers.
 
petros
#9
Maybe you can push for a monument to honour the death of intelligent consumers? It's fitting.
 
mentalfloss
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Maybe you can push for a monument to honour the death of intelligent consumers? It's fitting.

You make no sense.
 
petros
#11
I'm not surprised you're confused.
 
mentalfloss
+1
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

I'm not surprised you're confused.

I'm not surprised you only have rhetoric with no real substance.
 
petros
#13
The real substance is the contracts stupid consumers failed to read. Did you read yours or were the flashing lights and bells and whistles too distracting?
 
mentalfloss
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

The real substance is the contracts stupid consumers failed to read. Did you read yours or were the flashing lights and bells and whistles too distracting?

I've already finished mine and can change any time I want.

But now I'm glad that if I decide to get an iPhone, I can cancel early or switch providers without regret.

Can't say the same for those suckers in the free market.
 
petros
#15
Gotta have that 4G porn eh?
 
mentalfloss
+1
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Gotta have that 4G porn eh?

 
petros
#17
Bells and whistles.... keep your pecker in your pants when choosing a carrier.
 
mentalfloss
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Bells and whistles.... keep your pecker in your pants when choosing a carrier.

I really have no intention myself, but I'm glad that the people of Ontario have an option that would not have been possible without government intervention. Of course, knowing McGuinty, there will be some loophole the telecoms will use to get around it.
 
petros
#19
Try this. Read the fine print before you sign a contract and find the loopholes. Don't guess.
 
mentalfloss
+1
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Try this. Read the fine print before you sign a contract and find the loopholes. Don't guess.

Firstly, I've never had any problems.

But, hey, if millions of people get swindled, it must be something wrong with them not the corporation, right?

I could be like you and just blame these people and call them idiots to thump my own chest.
 
petros
#21
They swindled themselves with their own stupidity by not reading what they signed.

 
mentalfloss
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

They swindled themselves with their own stupidity by not reading what they signed.

Most subscribers don't sign anything - they received their plan over the phone.
 
petros
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

Most subscribers don't sign anything - they received their plan over the phone.

Activating your phone is a digital signature.
 
mentalfloss
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Activating your phone is a digital signature.

And considering 99% of people don't have the time or competency to read through the legaleeze, it's incumbent upon organizations to make people aware of the pertinent points. This legislation not only caps useless fees, but it also forces telecoms to be more transparent.
 
petros
#25
I don't have time to read the Criminal Code so does that mean I can shoot, rob, rape and exploit?
 
mentalfloss
+1
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

I don't have time to read the Criminal Code so does that mean I can shoot, rob, rape and exploit?

That's a pretty pathetic analogy.
 
petros
#27
Not at all. Ignorance isn't legal excuse to break a contract.
 
mentalfloss
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Not at all. Ignorance isn't legal excuse to break a contract.

I'll remember that the next time you endorse our country's failure to reduce CO2 emissions to levels we actually agreed to.
 
petros
#29
Why would we want to reduce CO2 when it's a very valuable commodity?
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
#30
When I get a huge discount on the phone I understand the condition is that I remain with the carrier for 3 years and can change phones after 2 with no pentalty (as long as I stay with same carrier). Not sure what the big deal people have against contracts or why they would assume that if they are getting a discount they won't have a contract.
 

Similar Threads

8
Free market is now reaching its peak.
by YoungJoonKim | Jul 13th, 2008
68
The myth of the free market?
by Niflmir | Jul 30th, 2007
0
Growers want early access to free market
by BitWhys | May 30th, 2007
0
The finest son of the free market economy
by darkbeaver | Apr 24th, 2006