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New legislation to expand protection for TV, Internet and cellphone consumers: province

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The province is pushing ahead with tighter rules on cable TV, Internet and cellphone promotions under new legislation introduced today by Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux.

The legislation is in addition to rules brought in in 2012 to protect consumers on excessive cellphone cancellation fees.

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Lemieux said today the new legislation would expand consumer protection to "distance communication" services including cable and satellite TV, Internet, phone, radio and home alarms.

It comes after consultation with the public and the industry that began last October.

Lemieux said the new legislation will require advertising for special offers to include the minimal monthly cost after a promotion ends and that any one-time installation cost are disclosed up front.

He also said the new rules will prevent companies from charging for services that cannot be accessed by the customer due to damaged or defective equipment and end unilateral changes to pricing or services if the change does not benefit the consumer.

It will also allow customers to cancel service contracts before the end of them and prohibit unreasonable cancellation fees.

"Clearly, Manitobans want us to be doing everything we can to assist them to ensure that these companies are all playing on level playing field, that they’re all upfront," he said.

He also said the legislation reflects the changes in technology and what people use to communicate.

It’s expected the legislation will be passed in June before the legislature breaks for the summer to be in force several months later.

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