Canada bans carrier locked devices and unlocking fees

Canada flag Andreasivarsson/Flickr

Canada has ketchup chips and better health care; what more could they ask for? Well, there is one more little treat our neighbors up north will be happy to have. It turns out Canadians will no longer have to worry about carriers locking up devices.

The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) has decided it is unlawful for carriers to charge unlocking fees, which usually cost about $50 CAD. Starting December 1, 2017, all phones must be unlocked by Canadian carriers upon request. In addition, any phone sold going forward will have to be unlocked from the get-go.

Consumer groups have been fighting for this, as they believe it is unfair for carriers to lock phones to their networks after the customer has purchased it. It is their property and they should take it wherever they wish. Wouldn’t you agree that locking a phone and then asking for money to unlock it is pretty much considered ransom? Not to mention it is an unfair competition practice, as it deters people from going elsewhere.

Of course, carriers disagree with these changes, saying customers should “bear the cost of the unlocking”. This makes no sense, though, as they go out of their way to lock it in the first place.

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There is more good news! The CRTC also went ahead and approved a couple of other rules. The trial period has been updated, giving customers the chance to return their devices and cancel their contracts within 15 days of the purchase. Restrictions do apply, though. The device needs to be in near-new conditions and customers need to have used lass than half their monthly usage allowances.

The CRTC also went on to clarify an older law. Family and shared plans can only be modified by the account holder. This includes the upgrade to both domestic and roaming data, which should be capped at $50 and $100, respectively. Getting anything over those set prices needs authorization by to official account holder or those he/she authorizes to make changes to the account.

What do you guys think of these new rules? Is it something you would like to see happening in your own country? Hit the comments below to share your 2 cents.