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Cellphone companies adopt code of conduct to help consumers understand contracts

MONTREAL - Canada's wireless carriers have adopted a new code of conduct that they say will improve consumers' understanding of their contracts when they buy a cellphone.

MONTREAL - Canada's wireless carriers have adopted a new code of conduct that they say will improve consumers' understanding of their contracts when they buy a cellphone.

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, an industry group representing wireless carriers, said the new code will give consumers full details on rates, terms and coverage offered in their plans.

It also promises that cellphone companies will communicate with customers in a way that they understand.

"In some cases, our members will have to change and adapt some of their practices to meet the code that is now in force as of today," wireless association president Bernard Lord said Tuesday.

A lot of the code is already respected by cellphone companies, he added

However, consumers have often been frustrated by the terms of their cellphone contracts.

Lord said the new code will give consumers the information they need to make informed decisions.

"This will mean good service, better service, easier to resolve complaints," he said from Ottawa.

If a consumer's complaint isn't resolved after 30 days, the consumer can go to Canada's Commissioner for Complaints to have it resolved, Lord said.

Major wireless services providers have signed on to the new code of conduct, including Bell, (TSX:BCE), Rogers (TSX:RCI.B), Telus (TSX:T), Videotron (TSX:QBR.B), MTS Allstream (TSX:MBT) and new players Public Mobile and WIND Mobile.

"The code is very clear that our carriers will provide consumers with complete details of rates, the terms of coverage in each of their plans, that the advertising will be clear and they will communicate with consumers in a way that they understand," Lord said.

Anthony Lacavera, CEO of new cellphone player WIND Mobile, has been an advocate of easy-to-understand contracts.

"We think it's a great step to bring some transparency and some clarity to what is really a very confusing product purchasing experience and product experience for consumers," he said.

Lacavera hopes to have WIND Mobile operating by late this year or early next year.

The code gives consumers the ability to budget for their cellphone costs, he said from Toronto.

 
 
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