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Canada heads for a pro-consumer cable TV policy

MUMBAI: The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) has announced a decision to abolish 30-day cable cancellation policies, wherein consumers will no longer have to give advance notice if they want to switch television, Internet or phone service providers.

Reports state that the ruling sends a message that the watchdog is serious about shifting control away from service providers and towards consumers. This in turn puts pressure on telecommunication services.

This is the first decision to come out of the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians hearings on the future of television that were held earlier this year.

As of 23 January 2015, customers will be able to cancel their cable, phone, or Internet service at any time without having to provide advance notice or pay an extra month’s subscription.

In its written decision, the CRTC noted 30-day cancellation policies have been the second most common consumer complaint issue reported to the industry ombudsman, the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), for the last two years.

While the CRTC acknowledged its decision could mean extra costs for cable companies that will now have to change their billing systems and contracts, it said the prohibition of 30-day cancellation policies will contribute to a more competitive marketplace.

It mentioned in a release, “Some consumers end up paying two companies for the same service as they transition from one provider to another. In a dynamic marketplace, it should be easy for Canadians to switch providers given that service plans and offers are constantly changing.”

The CRTC previously banned similar policies for wireless services when it introduced the Wireless Code in December 2013.

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