New rules in place for Manitoba cell phone contracts
Manitoba's law on cell phone contracts aimed at protecting consumers
Manitoba's new consumer protection law for cellphone contracts and fees is now in effect.
When the legislation was unveiled earlier this year, the government called it some of the best consumer protection in Canada.
Under the law, companies must fully disclose and explain all charges, fees and terms. The law also lets consumers cancel contracts at any time for a reasonable cancellation fee.
According to the province, in many cases customers will need only to pay the cost of any free phone they were given as part of a long-term contract. The payment would be pro-rated based on the remaining length of the agreement.
Service providers will also have to disclose all the details of a contract before it starts.
Consumer advocates called the new rules a good first step and urged customers to be aware of their rights.
"It's important for consumers to know what they're now entitled to," Gloria Desorcy, from the Manitoba Branch of the Consumers Association, told CBC News. "Because if we don't know, that we're entitled to it, then we might not complain about it. And that's our responsibility as consumers."
Companies that violate the rules could face fines of up to $1,000 for a first offence and increased penalties for subsequent transgressions.
With files from The Canadian Press and CBC's Megan Benedictson