British Columbia

Sick of cellphone contracts? The B.C. government wants to hear from you

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety, has launched a survey asking British Columbians to share their views and experiences regarding cellphone contracts.

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety, launches survey to gather experiences and opinions

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety, has launched a survey asking British Columbians to share their views and experiences regarding cellphone contracts. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

The B.C. government is launching a survey to gather British Columbians' experiences with cellphone contracts as part of its efforts to push for better consumer protections.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Bob D'Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, made the announcement Wednesday.

"We want to hear all about how people signed up, whether they find their plan affordable, and the results will help identify ways to strengthen B.C. consumer protections as well encourage the federal government to improve affordability," said Farnworth. 

The survey, which runs from May 29 to July 5, 2019, is meant to create a picture of cellphone contract and billing practices. The results of the survey will be put into a public report.

Federal legislation governs the regulation of telecommunication products like cellphones, Farnworth said, but the province has jurisdiction on consumer protection matters.

"That's where I see the greatest initiatives that we'll be able to take ... better transparency, clearer, plainer language, better understanding of what ... the costs are," he said. 

Farnworth says the report's results will also be used to lobby the federal government for more flexible, transparent and affordable cellphone options in B.C.

The B.C. government promised to implement a number of consumer protection measures in the 2019 budget, including better oversight of payday loan practices and a crackdown on ticket-buying bots.

The survey can be completed at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/cellphonebilling

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