Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/16/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 02/16/2013 11:30 AM | Updates
OTTAWA -- A proposed wireless code of conduct for cellphone providers is mostly acceptable to MTS Allstream as long as it doesn't go in a different direction from existing provincial consumer-protection laws, the company's president said Friday.
Kelvin Shepherd presented at Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearings on the CRTC's proposed wireless code of conduct in Gatineau, Que., Friday.
The combined company is MTS Allstream, but in Manitoba the wireless business is under the MTS division. Pierre Blouin is CEO of MTS Allstream; Shepherd is president of the MTS division and Dean Prevost President of Allstream.
The CRTC aims to improve protections for wireless customers on issues such as extra fees and information provided to customers about their bills. The proposed code would require plain language used in contracts, the right of a customer to cancel his or her contract without penalty if the terms of the contract are changed, and limits on fees charged to end a contract early.
"Largely we're in agreement with the direction the CRTC is proposing with the wireless code," Shepherd told the Free Press.
However, Manitoba is one of several provinces to already have laws or regulations in place protecting consumers from exorbitant fees for cellphones.
Manitoba's Consumer Protection Act passed in 2011. Among its provisions were limiting the fees for cancelling a phone contract to the value of the phone and time remaining on the contract, and preventing companies from changing the terms of a contract unless that term benefits the customer.
Shepherd said it cost MTS Allstream about $1 million to implement the act, a lot of which went to training sales staff.
He said if a new national wireless code comes in that is different, the training will have to be done all over again and confusion could take hold.
Shepherd told the CRTC hearings the national code works as long as it adds on to existing provincial laws but doesn't directly differ from them.
"The core of what the CRTC is proposing is closely aligned with (the Manitoba Consumer Protection Act)," said Shepherd. "We would find it challenging, and consumers would find it challenging, to deal with two different codes that aren't aligned," he said.
The proposed wireless code says it should be interpreted to always benefit the consumer and will not override any protections provided by provincial laws or regulations.
One area MTS does take issue with is the suggestion that companies cap additional fees, such as roaming and data charges, to $50, before the customer's services are suspended. The idea is to prevent customers from getting huge, unexpected bills. Shepherd said $50 is too low and would result in consumers being inconvenienced when their phones suddenly don't work.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 16, 2013 B6
Updated on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 10:52 AM CST: Changes headline to read "MTS boss"
11:30 AM: adds paragraph clarifying the separate divisions and presidents within MTS Allstream
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Cruise passengers recount horror stories to Senate
Argentina president says country will not default
Mullen Group sees Q2 net profit decline
Arctic region hot topic at Whistler, B.C., summit
SEC considering action against S&P over ratings
Provincial utilities agree on hydro deal
Fortune 500 firm Sealed Air moving HQ to Charlotte
Twitter admits to diversity problem in workforce
Setback for Nygård in Bahamas
FDA approves new painkiller from OxyContin maker
Nunn and Perdue shift to fall battle of outsiders
New Zealand raises interest rate to 3.5 per cent
Audit: NASA doesn't have the money for big rockets
Bombardier restructuring operations
Most actively traded companies on the TSX
Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'
Cheaper wireless plans cut into AT&T 2Q profit
Rehab clinic fined in staged-collision probe
CRTC to meet with companies about paper bills
Former trader gets 2 years in prison for fraud
5 tips for selling your home for the best price
Meat supplier in China scandal has global reach
Oil gains on sharp drop in U.S. supplies
Supreme Court upholds firing of tourism director
Holmes lawyers question firearms analysis
Toronto firms fined over do-not-call list
Senate agrees on $11B highway funding measure
US economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier
50K Canadian vehicles in latest GM recall
IMF sees US growth at weakest since recession
Chinese leader signs accords, wraps up Cuba visit
Medicaid enrollees strain Oregon
Agency continues ban on US flights to Tel Aviv
US movie theatres to show Premier League games
Dole, vets groups renew push for disability treaty
Talisman confirms approach from Repsol
Ex-CEO gets prison for stealing from NYC charity
Senate panel backs McDonald for VA secretary