Know Your Rights: Cell Phone Contracts

Your Rights With Cell Phone Contracts

There are more than 31 million active mobile phones in use across Canada, and each and every one of them will be on some form of a mobile phone contract.

Despite so many people having mobile phones, very few people seem to be fully aware of what they are signing up for when they take out a phone contract, so here’s what you need to know.

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Rules that wireless providers have to follow

Every person on a mobile phone plan in Canada is protected by The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Wireless Code.

The CRTC code was created to inform mobile users of their rights, but very few people know that it exists.

Here are some of the main rules included within the CRTC code that mobile providers must follow.


Plain language

Your wireless contract and all documents associated with it must be written clearly in a way that is easy for customers to understand. All prices and charges within your contract must also be clearly set out and it must be obvious whether taxes are included within these charges.


Cancellation fees

Customers cannot be charged a cancellation fee on any contract after two years. Even if you were to sign a contract that lasts longer than two years and have received a special ‘locked-in’ price, you are legally able to cancel your contract after the two-year period without incurring any charges.


Roaming charges

The maximum roaming charge that can be applied to any Canadian mobile account is $100 per month, after which the account must be suspended to prevent further charges.


Phone unlocking

As of December 1st 2017, all mobile phones must be sold unlocked.



Any existing product warranties must be explained in full before any additional extended warranty is offered.


Trial periods

As of December 1st 2017, all mobile phone customers are able to return a phone free of charge within 15 days of signing their contract. The device must be in near new condition and you cannot have used more than 50% of your monthly allowance.

What to do if your wireless provider isn’t following the code?

If you don’t feel that your provider is following the above code then the first thing that you should do is to try and resolve the issue with them directly.

If however, they do not listen, then you should file a complaint with the CCTS.

Questions you should ask before signing a mobile contract

Signing any contract is a serious business and so it’s important not to be afraid to ask questions.

Some questions that you may want to ask include:


  1. Whether there are any fees that you need to be aware of?
  2. Whether there is a cancellation fee for leaving before the two year period?
  3. What are the charges for going over your allowance?


What to do if you can’t pay your mobile phone bill

If you’re struggling with debt and can’t pay your mobile phone bill, then you need to speak with a debt specialist.

Here at Bankruptcy Canada, we can connect you with more than 430 local Licenced Trustees from across Canada.

Your Licenced Trustee will be able to assess your finances and can help you to find the right debt-relief option for your situation.

To find out more, call us on  (877) 879-4770 or fill out one of our quick online forms.

Information on Consumer Proposals

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