A little while back the CRTC changed the rules for unlocking cellular phone (s). Note that this is only happening on December 1st 2017, until then what is happening.
I have commented on this before, but I decided to have a close look at my Bell contract (you should look at yours as well). Here is what my current Bell Contract says on the subject (reproduced without Bell’s permission):
“Can I unlock my Device and is there a Fee? When you purchase a Device from Bell it will be locked and can only be used on the Bell network. If your Device was provided at a discount as part of this Agreement and your account is in good standing and your Device is eligible, you can unlock your Device after a minimum of 90 calendar days, if you pay an unlocking Fee (plus applicable taxes) of $50, or $150 if your account carries a security deposit or is subject to a credit limit. If your Device was purchased from Bell at full retail price or you brought your own Device (originally purchased from Bell), your Device can be unlocked upon request and payment of an unlocking Fee of $50, plus applicable taxes. If your account is past due, your Device will not be unlocked until your account balance is paid in full using a credit card. Visit bell.ca/onetimefees for details.”
It costs how much ?
Let’s unwrap some of the zingers in this unlocking cellular phone clause.
- This will cost me $50 until December 1st 2017. I am not sure if I called and talked to their customer retention team, I might get it for free, but maybe not.
- If I don’t have good credit or have a credit limit, this will cost me $150.
- There is an HST charge for the service.
- I better have my account payments up to date, or they will not do this unless I pay all outstanding costs with a credit card.
- If I got a new iPhone N (where N is the next great iPhone that just came out), I have to wait at least 90 days to have it unlocked.
My Opinion on Current Unlocking Phone Policy
I am disappointed that Bell hasn’t just declared an amnesty on unlocking, and doing it (for existing customers) for free. Given all phones will be unlock-able (and sold unlocked) in a few months, it seems, vindictive to keep charging for this service (especially to existing customers).
I will be waiting until December 1st to get my phone unlocked (I assume that it will take a while). The battery on my iPhone 5, was replaced for $50 so I will be keeping it for a while. Most likely I will be getting a new iPhone some time soon, however, I will try to find the cheapest price possible.
For the longest of time, I refused to deposit cheques in the ATM machine (after reading horror stories about stolen cheques and the like, from nefarious false fronts which steal cheques), but after a while, I started using this technology (usually because the lines for the tellers were so long). I have written previously about not wanting to use my home WiFi (and absolutely never use public WiFi) for on-line banking, just because I am that kind of paranoid guy, but now I find myself doing most of my on-line banking using my laptop which is connected via WiFi (but not public WiFi). Am I a lover of old financial technology , only ?
Old Technology? Image courtesy of cooldesign, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Last night I caught myself in another one of my “still thinking like an old cranky guy” habits, and that was taking cheques with me to work, so that I could deposit them on the way home at the ATM machine at the bank. I dutifully went out of my way to stop at the bank, and deposited the cheques, but since TD has gone to a new ATM interface, it dawned on me, why wasn’t I just doing the “take a photo of the cheque” deposit method?
The TD ATM machine is simply photographing the cheque, and ‘parsing’ it (although they also keep the cheques, although I have no idea whether the darn things are archived or just shredded after a few days), the same methodology as if I was using my phone. Why didn’t I simply use my phone? My only explanation I can give is old habits die hard, and I keep forgetting about some features available from my bank.
I do still feel some paranoia, so I tend to photograph my cheques with WiFi turned off, and using my Cell Phone Providers network (which is marginally more secure), but I have to remember that the feature exists in the first place.
Old financial technology was useful at the time, but maybe it is time for me to move on.
Today the CRTC rule about phone companies not being allowed to impose penalties for breaking contracts after 24 months becomes a reality! No more 3 year cell phone contracts! Today (June 3rd, 2015), the CRTC’s new rules come in to play:
The CRTC’s Wireless Code (the Code) comes into effect on December 2, 2013.
My Phone From Bell
The final portion is what comes into play today, and that is limiting penalties to any contract for only the first 24 months of the contract (after 24 months, no penalties can be imposed, no more 3 year cell phone contracts), and I quote:
For indeterminate contracts, The Code limits the early cancellation fee as follows:
- the fee cannot be greater than the amount of your device subsidy
- the fee must reduce each month, and reach $0 within 24 months.
This means lots of folks have their contracts “expire” today and they are free agents (i.e. they are free to negotiate as good a deal as possible for their next contract). Previously I have written about A Script for Customer Retention Deals and the like, so remember to try to bargain for the best deal possible. Remember asking for a better deal does not make you an Entitled Spoiled Consumer.
Will I be trading my iPhone 5.0 in? No, I haven’t reached 2 years on the contract yet, and it works just fine by me.
The CRTC made a good ruling for consumers (maybe not so good for the Wireless Companies, but if I wrote that I felt sorry for them, you’d know I was being incredibly sarcastic) ruling that Cell Phone contracts can only be Two Years in Length.
So now my wife’s iFruit is on only a 2 year contract? Nice!
To quote our friends at the CRTC:
Among other things, individual and small business consumers will be able to:
- terminate their wireless contracts after two years without cancellation fees, even if they have signed on for a longer term
- cap extra data charges at $50/month and international data roaming charges at $100/month to prevent bill shock
- have their cellphones unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if they paid for the device in full
- return their cellphones, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if they are unhappy with their service
- accept or decline changes to the key terms of a fixed-term contract (i.e., 2-year), and
- receive a contract that is easy to read and understand.
The cap’ing of the max charges is a very nice touch too. Wonder if this works with roaming charges in other countries?
The good news is that if you want a new iFruit ShoeFone or a Crackberry 2001, the longest you’ll be saddled with that technological marvel will only be two years. Honestly that is about the lifespan of these miniature portable computers, so I think the CRTC is in the right with this ruling as well.
Here is a link to the CRTC’s Wireless Code, you should read that over carefully as well.
Anybody with a new Three Year contract should be doing a happy jig as well, given it is now only a two-year contract. Wonder if the Wireless folks will attempt to “recoup their losses” in these situations with new fees? It should make for an interesting few months, that is for sure.
I went into a Bell store to ask about whether I could get a better cell phone deal. I was told, No, I cannot have a better deal.
This has happened to me more than once. I have walked into a Bell, Telus, or Rogers store and I get told that the folks who work in the store are not allowed (or cannot (or even worse will not)) try to make a better deal with an existing customer (which in the case of Bell Mobility, I am (I have been with them for more than 5 years, which I view as a very long-term client)). They can try to make deals for new customers, but no better cell phone deal for existing customers.
What is a NoOp?
Storefront Locations are of Little Value
Throughout my life I keep coming back to things I learned when I was a young programmer and one of the interesting assembly language commands I come back to is the NoOp (which meant no operation, or do nothing).
What is the point of a NoOp? In low-level programming there were needs to sometimes fill out programs or simply have the processor do nothing for a command to let things settle down (yes, settle down is a technical term). In my grammar NoOp became synonymous with Do Nothing.
The Storefronts for most of the major Telecomm companies in Canada have become NoOps : they are simply there for folks who don’t like doing things on-line (and for folks who don’t like calling the Bell Customer Service line). I can go in and buy something (that I could just as easily buy on-line) or I can talk to someone about a problem (which I can do over the phone), but I cannot get a better cell phone deal.
This means that the only way I can get a better deal for an iPhone or any other Bell product will be to call their Customer Line, and then point out that my contract is up in 2 months and that Telus (and Rogers for that matter) are calling me to offer me better deals to have me use their services (i.e. Customer Retention). I can’t even get a better deal going to a 3rd party such as the Future Shop or Wal-Mart, so it begs the question why
are do these Mortar and Brick establishments exist?