Cellphone unlocking charges and unreadable contracts are now banned

December 5, 2017

Wireless code changes now in effect in Canada are meant to head off unpleasant surprises on your cellphone bill.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission announced new terms to the Wireless Code of Conduct in June, after hearings in February in which consumers complained about unexpected charges and unclear terms of service. Those changes took effect Dec. 1.

One of the most significant changes in the new rules is elimination of the unpopular charge for unlocking the phone.

That means new phones that come with a wireless package should come to you unlocked, and you can take your phone easily to a competitor's network if you want to change carriers.

This is particularly helpful when travelling in other countries, so you can swap out your SIM card and use one from a local carrier without an unlocking fee.

The other big breakthrough involves new rules about consenting to data overage. On shared family plans, only the wireless account holder, not just any device holder, can consent to extra data or roaming charges.

This should end parents' pain of a teenage son or daughter agreeing to extra data for streaming or remote use of the cellphone without regard to the cost.

Read more: Cellphone unlocking charges and unreadable contracts are now banned