Bill 133, Wireless Phone, Smart Phone and Data Service Transparency Act, 2011

Orazietti, David

Current Status: Ordered referred to the Standing Committee on General Government

Viewing: Original (current version) pdf

Bill 133                                                        2010

An Act to provide transparency and protection for consumers of wireless telephone services, smart phone services and data services in Ontario

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Interpretation

   1.  Words and expressions used in this Act have the same meanings as in the Consumer Protection Act, 2002.

Application

   2.  (1)  This Act applies to all future performance agreements in respect of wireless telephone service or data service if the consumer or the supplier is located in Ontario when the agreement is entered into.

Conflict

   (2)  If there is a conflict between a provision of this Act and a provision of another Act or regulation with respect to the requirements of a future performance agreement, the provision that provides the greatest protection to the consumer prevails.

Requirements

   3.  (1)  A future performance agreement to which this Act applies shall be expressed in plain language that is clear and concise.

Same

   (2)  In addition to the requirements for future performance agreements in the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and the regulations made under it, a future performance agreement to which this Act applies shall set out the following information:

    1.  A detailed description of each of the services to be provided by the supplier under the agreement and the duration of the agreement.

    2.  A description of any service offered at a discount and the duration of the discount.

    3.  The cost for each of the services to be provided under the agreement, including each optional service to be provided.

    4.  If the cost of the services mentioned in paragraph 3 is payable on a monthly basis, the rate at which the service is charged.

    5.  If the cost of the services mentioned in paragraph 3 is payable on a periodic basis other than a monthly basis, the monthly equivalent of the cost.

    6.  If the cost of a service varies depending on the circumstances in which the service is used, including circumstances relating to the place or time at which the service is used, an explanation of how the cost varies with those circumstances.

    7.  A description of any one-time cost charged by the supplier, including any sign-up fee or any cost for any action required on the part of the supplier to activate the service under the agreement.

    8.  A description of any goods to be provided by the supplier under the agreement, including any goods sold at a discount or offered free of charge on the purchase of the service or services, and a statement of the cost of the goods under the agreement.

    9.  A statement of the amount that would have been charged by the supplier for the goods mentioned in paragraph 8 if the goods had not been sold at a discount or offered free on the purchase of the service or services.

  10.  A statement indicating whether the goods mentioned in paragraph 8 are new or used and, if the goods are used, whether they have been reconditioned. 

  11.  A statement indicating whether any goods sold at a discount or offered free on entering into the agreement are subject to any technological or physical feature that restricts the functioning of the goods to a service provided by the supplier or another particular service provider.

Same

   (3)  In a future performance agreement to which this Act applies, the supplier shall agree to do the following:

    1.  Remove, free of charge after the agreement expires, any technological or physical feature that restricts the functioning of the goods to a service provided by the supplier or another particular service provider.

    2.  Remove, free of charge if the consumer pays full price for the goods, any technological or physical feature that restricts the functioning of the goods to a service provided by the supplier or another particular service provider.

    3.  Alert the consumer when the consumer has reached 90 per cent of the service limit of any particular service under the agreement and is likely to incur additional charges as a result of exceeding the service limit.

    4.  Alert the consumer when the consumer is likely to incur additional charges as a result of attempting to use a service that is subject to geographical limits outside those limits.

No automatic renewal

   4.  No future performance agreement to which this Act applies shall be renewed without the express consent of the consumer before the existing agreement expires.

Amendments

   5.  (1)  No future performance agreement to which this Act applies shall be amended without the express consent of the consumer.

Confirmation

   (2)  If an agreement is amended in accordance with this section, the supplier shall give the consumer written confirmation of the amendment within 15 days.

Limit on consent to amend

   (3)  The consent of a consumer to amend an agreement under this section does not constitute consent to renew the agreement.

Cancellation

   6.  (1)  A consumer may at any time, without any reason, cancel a future performance agreement to which this Act applies on giving 30 days notice.

Confirmation

   (2)  If a consumer cancels a future performance agreement under subsection (1), the supplier shall provide written confirmation to the consumer that the agreement has been cancelled.

Fee

   (3)  A consumer who cancels an agreement under this section is not liable to pay any cancellation fee that is greater than,

  (a)  if payments are payable on a monthly basis, the cost of one month of service under the agreement; or

  (b)  if payments are payable on a periodic basis other than a monthly basis, the equivalent of one month of service under the agreement.

Additional fee for agreement involving discounted goods

   (4)  Despite subsection (3), if a consumer cancels an agreement under which the consumer purchased goods at a discount or received goods free of charge, the supplier may charge an additional cancellation fee that is not greater than the amount calculated in accordance with the following rules:

    1.  Subtract the amount paid by the consumer for the goods from the amount that would have been charged by the supplier for the goods if the goods had not been sold at a discount or offered free of charge.

    2.  Divide the amount determined under paragraph 1 by the total duration of the agreement, expressed in months.

    3.  Multiply the result obtained under paragraph 2 by the number of full months remaining between the date of cancellation and the date on which the agreement expires.

    4.  The amount calculated under paragraph 3, rounded to the nearest cent, is the maximum additional cancellation fee the supplier may charge under this subsection.

Advertising

   7.  If a supplier advertises a price for a particular service as part of an advertisement for a future performance agreement to which this Act applies, the supplier shall ensure that the advertisement also contains a more prominent statement of the total cost to the consumer on a monthly or other periodic basis of all services to be provided under the agreement.

Pre-paid cards

   8.  (1)  For the purposes of this section, a pre-paid card is a voucher in any form, including an electronic credit or written certificate, for a fixed amount of service that is to be provided under a future performance agreement to which this Act applies.

No activation date limit

   (2)  No supplier shall sell or offer to sell a pre-paid card that requires activation by a particular date.

No expiry

   (3)  No supplier shall sell or offer to sell a pre-paid card that has an expiry date on the future performance of the agreement.

Enforcement

   9.  Part IX of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 (Procedures for Consumer Remedies) applies, with necessary modifications, to remedies claimed in respect of future performance agreements to which this Act applies.

Commencement

   10.  This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Short title

   11.  The short title of this Act is the Wireless Phone, Smart Phone and Data Service Transparency Act, 2010.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

The Bill applies to future performance agreements in respect of wireless telephone, smart phone and data services.

Major features of the Bill include the following:

    1.   An agreement for wireless telephone service or data service must be expressed in plain language.

    2.   An agreement must contain certain information with respect to descriptions of services and goods to be provided under the agreement, and statements of all associated costs.

    3.   A supplier must agree to remove any technological or physical feature that restricts the functioning of the goods to a particular service provider when a consumer pays full price for the goods or when the agreement expires.

    4.   A supplier must agree to notify a consumer when the consumer has reached 90 per cent of the limit of any particular service under the agreement, as well as when the consumer is about to incur charges for attempting to use a service that is subject to geographical limits outside those limits.

    5.   No agreement may be amended or renewed without the express consent of the consumer.

    6.   A consumer may at any time, without any reason, cancel an agreement on giving 30 days notice, and cancellation fees are limited.

    7.   Rules are established with respect to advertising prices for wireless telephone, smart phone and data service.

    8.   Pre-paid cards for a fixed amount of service may not be sold if they have an expiry date. 

    9.   The enforcement provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 apply to this Act, with necessary modifications.

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