Canadian carriers have tried to circumvent the two-year contract limit this year by separating device financing from the plans they offer. Now, the CRTC is launching a review of the new practice.
The commission said it planned to review the new structure in an August 2nd tweet, and asked carriers to stop offering 36-month financing options until it finishes its review.
The CRTC is now launching its full review and is looking for input on the new financing offers until October 15th. In the regulatory body’s press release, it says it’s looking for input regarding a variety of questions.
Below are a few examples:
- What are the benefits for customers of having access to wireless device financing plans that exceed 24 months?
- How to ensure that device financing plans comply with the Wireless Code’s objectives of making it easier for Canadians to understand their mobile contracts and switch service providers, and of preventing bill shock?
The CRTC is hoping for a few outcomes from the review. It wants to be able to help the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services understand the new carrier option so it can address consumer complaints related to them. It’s also aiming to find out if the new financing option complies with the wireless code.
In a press release, Ian Scott the CRTC’s chairman said, “The CRTC is concerned by these financing plans as they appear to make it difficult for a customer to switch service providers even after 24 months.”
Bell, Rogers and Telus all started offering these plans in July. They allow anyone to get a phone for $0 upfront while paying it off over a period of either 24 or 36 months. This uncouples the cost of the device from the carrier’s data and calling plans to circumvent the CRTC’s Wireless code.