New safeguards now in place for Internet customers
January 31, 2020 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Today, the Internet Code came into force, providing Canadians with additional safeguards when subscribing to home Internet services. The Code will also help them resolve disputes with their Internet service provider (ISP).
Canadians will benefit from:
- easier-to-understand contracts, documentation and policies surrounding service calls, outages, security deposits and disconnections
- clearer information about prices, including for bundles, promotions and time-limited discounts
- bill shock protection, through notifications when customers approach and reach their data-usage limits, and
- new rules permitting customers to cancel a contract within 45 days, without paying early cancellation fees, if the contract differs from the offer.
The Internet Code applies to large ISPs and is administered by the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS). The CRTC expects all other ISPs to behave in a manner consistent with the principles set out in the Internet Code.
“In today’s marketplace, Canadian consumers deserve to be provided with clear information and easy-to-understand terms and conditions. The Internet Code will allow Canadians to make better decisions when subscribing to or modifying their existing Internet service, and will make it easier for them to take advantage of competitive offers. The Internet Code will also provide Canadian consumers with additional safeguards against unexpectedly high bills and help them resolve disputes with their Internet service provider.”
-Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO, CRTC
The Internet Code is the third installment in a series of consumer codes implemented by the CRTC, following the introduction of the Wireless Code and the Television Service Provider Code.
The CCTS is an independent organization dedicated to resolving customer complaints about telecommunications and TV services. It can require a company to provide a refund, correct a billing error and provide up to $5,000 in compensation per complaint.
The Internet Code applies to the following large ISPs: Bell Canada, Cogeco, Eastlink, Northwestel, Rogers Communications, SaskTel, Shaw Telecom, TELUS, Videotron and Xplornet.
Almost 90% of Canadian households have a home Internet service subscription and more than 85% of those are with large ISPs.
ISPs will need to notify a customer when they reach 75%, 90% and 100% of their data-usage limit within a single monthly billing cycle.
The CRTC plans to review the Internet Code within three years to ensure it is an effective tool in resolving customer complaints.
In its 2018-19 annual report, the CCTS noted a 34% increase in Internet-related complaints over the previous year.
In anticipation of the Internet Code’s creation, and to get a better understanding of the needs and views of Canadians and the industry, the CRTC held two consultations, including one on Facebook.
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