The Internet Code and Your Rights as a Customer

Hello, and welcome to the Internet Code
video series. These videos were developed to provide an
overview of Internet services. They are intended for Deaf, Deaf-Blind or
Hard of Hearing customers. All videos have captions and voiceovers. The Internet Code and Your Rights as a Customer This video will provide information about
consumer rights, as defined in the Internet Code. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications
Commission, or CRTC for short, created the Internet Code, which is based on Telecom Regulatory
Policy CRTC 2019-269. The Internet Code is also referred to as
The Code. The Code applies to specific Internet Service
Providers, or ISPs, as identified by the CRTC, as well as their brands and affiliates. The list of ISPs is noted at the beginning
of this video. For simplicity, in this video we will call
them the “Code ISPs”. The Code does not apply to customers of other
ISPs, or their brands and affiliates. The Code applies to all Internet services
provided by the Code ISPs to individual customers, whether purchased on a stand-alone basis or
as part of a bundle, and whether purchased in person, online, or over the phone. The Code does not apply to Internet services
provided to businesses. The Code is intended to help customers of
the Code ISPs be better informed of their rights and responsibilities as written, or
identified, in their contracts. There are four broad benefits identified in
the Internet Code: 1. It ensures easier-to-understand contracts,
documentation and policies concerning service calls, outages, security deposits and disconnections. 2. It helps customers receive clear information
about pricing, including limited time promotions and commercial agreements where Internet service
is provided as part of a bundle. 3. It helps customers manage their bills through
data usage notification requirements and data management tools. 4. It provides for rules around contract early
cancellation fees and trial periods. Let’s look at each of these a little
more closely. Contracts, Documentation and Policies (Service
Calls, Outages, Security Deposits and Disconnections) Contracts & Documentation
The Internet Code applies to new, renewed, or amended contracts. It also applies to some aspects of existing
contracts agreed to before the Internet Code came in to force on January 31, 2020. A contract identifies the services included
in the contract, such as data, that the customer agreed to and will receive for the duration
of the contract, and any limits on the use of those services that could trigger overage
charges or additional fees. The Code generally prohibits Code ISPs from
changing key contract terms and conditions during a commitment period without the informed
and express consent of the customer. When a service provider notifies a customer
that it intends to change a key contract term or condition, the customer may refuse
the change. Written contracts and related documents must
use clear and easy to understand language that is timely, accurate and accessible. Customers who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, or Hard
of Hearing, or persons with a disability, can receive a copy of the contract, the critical
information summary, and related documents in an accessible format upon request, at no charge
and at any time during the commitment period. Accessible formats must be responsive to each
customer’s accessibility needs and may include, among others: large print, braille, documents
in plain text or Word format. The commitment period of a contract will depend
on whether a customer has a fixed term or month-to-month contract. For fixed term contracts, the commitment period
is the entire duration of the contract. For month-to-month contracts, the commitment
period is the current month or billing cycle. Policies (Service Calls, Outages, Security
Deposits and Disconnections) Code ISPs must also provide additional information
concerning their policies such as those related to service calls, outages, and security deposits. The Internet Code also sets out requirements
for when disconnection may occur and what notice must be provided prior to disconnections. Pricing The Internet Code requires that all prices
set out in contracts and offers must be clear. This also includes prices related to any promotions,
discounts, incentives, other time-limited offers, and bundles. Code ISPs must identify if prices include
taxes and any other limitations. Code ISPs may not charge their customers for services
or devices that they have not expressly purchased. Contracts must also outline overage charges
that will be applied in instances where a customer exceeds their data limits during
a billing cycle. When a customer purchases services on an unlimited
basis, overage fees cannot be charged. Unlimited services cannot be limited unless
the limits are clearly identified in the service provider’s fair use policy. Usage Notifications and Bill Management The Internet Code requires that Code ISPs provide
usage notifications and bill management tools. Where customers have an Internet plan that
includes a usage limit, customers will receive usage alerts or notifications at specific
usage thresholds in their monthly data plan and before overage charges being applied when
applicable. In addition, where a Code ISP applies overage
fees on plans, they must provide data management tools and services to help customers track
their data usage and better manage their bills. Trial Periods and Contract Cancellations Trial Period When a customer agrees to a contract that
includes an early cancellation fee, they are eligible for a trial period lasting a minimum
of 15 calendar days. The trial period is extended to a minimum
of 30 calendar days for Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing customers and persons
with disabilities. The trial period allows customers to determine
whether the service meets their needs. If the service is not suitable, customers
can cancel their contract without penalty or early cancellation fees if two
conditions are met: 1. They used less than the permitted usage, if
a usage limit is identified, and 2. They have returned any equipment or device
provided by the Code ISP, in near-new condition, including original packaging, if applicable. “Near-new condition” means that there
are no cracks or damaged parts, for example. Installation fees may still be applicable
even if a customer cancels during a trial period. Contract Cancellations The Internet Code provides additional clarity
concerning contract cancellations. A customer may cancel their contract at any
time by notifying their Code ISP. When a customer cancels a contract before
the end of the commitment period, they will need to pay the early cancellation fee outlined
in their contract. A customer can also cancel their contract
if the Code ISP fails to provide the contract within the required time frame, or if the
terms and conditions of the permanent copy of the contract are not the same as what the
customer agreed to. In this instance, if the cancellation occurs
within 45 calendar days of the start of the contract, they do not have to pay an early
cancellation fee or any other penalty. Administration and Complaint Process A customer who believes that their Code ISP
is not adhering to the Code must first try to resolve the problem directly with
the Code ISP. If still unsatisfied, they can contact the
Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) to file a complaint. The CCTS can be contacted in several different
ways, be it online on their website, by mail, or by phone, either through SRV Canada VRS
or TTY, as well as by fax.

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