Times Colonist

Bill targets cellphone charges

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OTTAWA — Consumers could see their cellphone bills cut if political foes join forces to pass a private member’s bill aimed at curtailing wireless surcharges.

Liberal MP David McGuinty tabled the Telecommun­ications Clarity and Fairness Act yesterday. The proposed legislatio­n would prohibit a carrier from levying any additional fees and charges that aren’t part of a customer’s monthly plan rate.

The bill also calls for more transparen­t contracts before consumers sign on with a company, detailing costs associated with pricey coverage or roaming charges.

This is the latest move to target billing practices that irk cellphone customers. The New Democratic Party launched its own campaign a few months ago, titled Cracking Down on Cellphone Charges.

Pointing out that Canada’s 19.3 million wireless phone subscriber­s pay a third more for their service than American consumers, the campaign calls for an end to over-charging, long-term contracts, and unfair fees. They include “System Access fees,” 9-1-1 fees and fees charged to subscriber­s for activity beyond their control, such as incoming calls.

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