April 24, 2014 6:27 pm

Province cuts confusion over internet, cable TV, phone fees

WINNIPEG — TV, Internet and telephone services can all come with a dizzying array of contracts and tempting special offers, but the province is hoping to cut the confusion.

Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux spoke about the proposed legislation tabled Thursday.

“We’re not telling the consumer what they should buy or not buy. We’re just saying to the companies that are offering their services, ‘Be upfront,’ ” he said.

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The new rules would require telecommunications companies like Shaw Communications, Global TV’s parent company, and other telecoms to clearly post monthly service costs after any promotion ends.

The legislation would also ensure any one-time or equipment charges are disclosed and allow customers to cancel contracts before the term ends — without prohibitive penalties.

“As consumers, we have the right to full information and the right to choice,” said Gloria Desorcy of the Consumer Association of Canada.

Consumers applauded the proposed legislation.

“It’s nice to know what the fees are instead of hearing, ‘Here, we’re going to charge you this without you knowing,’ ” said a shopper at Winnipeg Square.

“I guess some of the responsibility should be on the consumer, but I think it’s up to the company to tell you so you know what you’re getting involved in,” said another.

It is still unclear how the regulations will be implemented, but the province does plan to monitor companies once the rules become law.

That includes checking on industry practices and looking into advertisements.

The consumer protection office will also ask for copies of contracts from communication companies, to ensure the documents meet the requirements of the legislation.

The law is expected to come into effect near the end of 2014.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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