CRTC to make switching broadcast, telco services as easy as one call


image (c) Getty ImagesWhile I’ve never experienced any hassles when switching providers for any of my services, I know that this has not been the case for many Canadians. And clearly that’s the message the CRTC has been receiving, because today they have announced a new process whereby consumers can place a single call to their new provider and from there the new provider will make all the arrangements for the switch, including service cancellation, with the old provider.

In a press release sent out today, Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC said, “In a competitive marketplace, consumers are always encouraged to explore different options for their broadcasting and telecommunications services. The new rules will make the transfer process a seamless and convenient experience, while enabling Canadians to benefit from receiving retention offers from their current providers.”

Along with the new, simpler switch procedure comes new requirements for how long any switches should take: “The CRTC requires that customer transfers be completed within two business days, except for wireless service where transfers must be completed within 2.5 hours.”

2.5 hours? That’s seems like a tall order… we’ll see if that ends up being the reality or not.

The new rules don’t prevent you from doing a regular cancellation, if that’s what you want. In fact, it may arguably be a better way to go about switching, especially if you’re planning to move for pricing reasons. By calling your existing provider to cancel in-person, you’ll likely be offered any number of incentives to stay, which will not happen if you use the “one-call” technique.

The CRTC is warning Canadians that these new procedures do *not* help get you out of any early-cancellation fees that your current provider might charge you depending on the nature of your contract, so don’t be surprised if you get a bill in the mail following the switch-over process.

Finally, near the end of the release, the CRTC mentions that it “has established safeguards to prevent service providers from sharing confidential customer information with their internal sales and marketing groups during the transfer process,” presumably as a way to prevent the old provider from placing calls to the customer in an attempt to lure them back before they leave. Interestingly, the Commission isn’t completely convinced that this decision is in the best interest of consumers and is seeking comments on the issue.

Do you think these changes are good for consumers, or will you still use the cancel-and-switch-yourself technique the next time you decide to move?

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18 comments

  1. RJ

    Mr Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC is so out of touch with ordinary working Canadians.We are so fed up with being screwed by utility ,phone,ISP’s,and cable companies.The CRTC was established to do nothing more than give a bunch of appointed hacks cushy jobs for the rest of their lives.
    Mr Konrad von Finckenstein stated that all Canadians should pay for the services we use,but yet we are forced by the CRTC to pay for channels we don’t want,phone charges we can live without and now they have found a new way to enable collusion between the companies whose only goal is to find a way to dishonestly screw you out of your hard earned money.To hell with them all.I’ll take care of my own services.

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    • Kelly

      I so agree with this. I’m being held hostage by the phone company I used to be happy with and have now been with for 27 years. I need someone to explain to me why it takes these companies mere moments to suspend and charge you yet when I requested having my long distance service removed, it took a month and when I requested to be removed from the One Bill program, I was told it will take 2 months.

      It’s absolutely ludicrous and I, for one, am getting really tired of lining the pockets of these people.

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    • Elsie

      Crtc, bell, rogers all suck the life out of us Canadians through there control and greed.

      They all need to be gone.

      I don’t believe for one minute that the Original Bell family, bell family owned ever would have treated its clientel like this. Bell is not Bell, it is owned by a teacher’s union, just to line their pocket books even more.

      So fed up with all of them.

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      • Joe

        Well l got rid of Bell althogether….and now use MajicJack http://www.majicjack.com and it works great…twenty bucks a year….A YEAR and all calls to US and long distance Canada are free….check it out…also put up an antenna and get my free HD TV signals…don’t use cable anymore.

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  2. HD

    In a press release sent out today, Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC said, “In a competitive marketplace, consumers are always encouraged to explore different options for their broadcasting and telecommunications services.

    Does this guy even live in Canada?
    Since the CRTC has been in existence there has not been any kind of “competitive marketplace” as far as electronic media is concerned.Free up the airwaves and free us from the likes of Telus,Shaw,Rogers,and Bell who all offer REGULATED services.Give us “Jitterbug” ,Direct TV,and a REAL DISNEY channel not the 7 year old rerun called “Family”.Competitive market my b*tt.

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    • Fred Augerman

      “Free up the airwaves and free us from the likes of Telus,Shaw,Rogers,and Bell who all offer REGULATED services.Give us “Jitterbug” ,Direct TV,and a REAL DISNEY channel not the 7 year old rerun called “Family”.Competitive market my b*tt”.

      Very well stated! But it will never happen. The “Big 3” not only own and control everything but are completely protected, so forget the idea about ever seeing a competitive market in this country. We are the only country in the world that is not allowed to have the “real” HBO. That should tell you everything you need to know about competition here! We will always be gouged and regulated!

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  3. Steve Chapman

    They should abolish the CRTC anyway. Rogers has them in their pocket.It should read the “Canadian Rogers Telecomunicaton Commission”.We need more competition. How about Direct TV and their buddys. That should solve the problem of being ripped off big time.

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  4. Jim

    Koodos to RJ Kelly HD Fred Steve couldn’t have said it better Does Mr Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C. actually get paid to put out such garbage

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  5. Adrian

    Nothing new here as far as the 2 1/2 hour timeline for porting out a number. I’ve ported out three wireless numbers in the last 14 months and all three were done within 75 minutes. So I don’t see why 2 1/2 hours is hard to do. These ports involved four different carriers.

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  6. Gaye

    I just read the CRTC call for comments…and who are they kidding? You need to be a litigation lawyer to figure out how to respond. Can anyone out there start a cross country e:mail asking Canadians to respond by requesting opening up competition to allow companies like Direct TV etc,to be allowed? If the CRTC saw a million responses just maybe it would get some notice?

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  7. John

    Lets just say for a second that CRTC did in fact lift the Canadian content requirements from all of our television providers and allowed us to get full american content. Wouldn’t that just make us more inclined to sit on a couch and get more obese like our partners to the south? Also if Canadian households were filled with even MORE American propaganda, what is there to keep our country distinct from the USA. I in fact enjoy that there isn’t a channel for all of our time slot needs. If we have no regulation in Canada then those who want to pirate downloaded movies better stop since our privacy act would surely be gone and again we would be open to all consequences just like USA. Stop trying to follow a failing country and suck it up!!

    Now to comment on this post. Do we really need one call to change our services? How lazy have we become, or how scared are we to stand up to our providers? I will make my own calls and represent myself if/when I need to change. For those who don’t realize it you can call your providers and speak to the retentions/loyalty department and get some great deals. It helps alot if you are out of contract since then the power shifts back to the consumer and the right to shop the competition for better deals.

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  8. DazedandAmazed

    I’ve always said that Canada is a communist dictatorship masquerading as a democratic country, and I think the CRTC, Canadian content rules, and TV monopolies prove my point (to some extent). Years ago, the Canadian Federal Government made it illegal to receive Direct TV’s signal, but I ask you…since it is true (fact) that radio waves travel unchecked in a line of sight manner, what right does any government have to force us to ‘not look’ at them, via our tvs?

    There are a few isolated towns in Canada and the US which sit right on the border – it actually cuts through their property, so those people, presumably, can go to a different room in their house, and watch real TV from the States, instead of watching the pap that passes for entertainment.

    But wait, just like the proverbial set of steak knives, it gets even better. Back in the 1980s, the Greater Victoria Public Library (and perhaps others, who knows?) put Canadian flags on the spine of every book written by a Canadian writer. Now, I asked them why (being an inquisitive type, and they told me it was to help readers identify which were written by Canadian writers.

    Let’s see now, if I am rich, I can stock my personal library entirely with books written by foreign authors, but if I go to a library, I must be spoonfed like the literary child the government believes us all to be, and have the writers identified by the government?

    Could there be an alternative explanation to the ‘flagging’ on the spines? Let’s see:

    1. Determine who is a good Canadian, (assuming the nationality can be bar-coded)
    2. Exclude foreign writers (based on increased ‘popularity’ of Canadian ones

    Regardless of the [never-to-be-substantiated] of Victoria’s Library Board, it is quite clear that forces exist in this country which ensure that we remain a cultural backwater that embraces Canadian writers whether they are excellent, mediocre or poor writers, because they [these forces] are so bloody insecure about being Canadian in the first place that they cannot bear to allow anybody else in.

    This is bad business because it stifles competition, it is bad policy because it limits people’s freedom of choice, and it has no place in modern society.

    I’d rather watch US programming any time. You can always tell something is Canadian, because it has that lacklustre quality to it. Can you imagine, for instance, The Sopranos ever having been made in Canada? No – we have to put up with something desultory like the 70s series ‘The White Oaks of Jalna’ instead.

    We do not have a free country – we have a subservient one!

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    • ClearAndConcise

      Your comments are not only factually incorrect but frankly laughable to boot.
      There is no law preventing you from receiving direct tv signals. But there is a law preventing you from being their customer or descrambling their encrypted signals. Those laws may seem restrictive but if they didn’t exist, we would surely become the 51st US state from a cultural point of view. If we don’t protect our citizens from the masssive US interests to the south of us, they will consume us like a big Mac. Imagine if we didn’t insist that US products meet our safety requirements?
      Don’t give in to the US based belief that everything they create is somehow better than what we do. Don’t forget the lesson of the Avro Arrow. Start supporting Canadians now before it’s too late.

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  9. Gordon Russell

    All very well but since the person who transfers will still be liable for cancelation penalties, why don’t they just cancel with the old provider and start with the new one ? Is this just another example of someone claiming to do something and actually doing nothing to justify their existance. I only use my phone on urgent or important occasions and use the pre-paid system, I would much rather see the CRTC making it illegal to reduce my balance to zero if I have not used my pre-paid time within a set period.

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  10. TAZZMANN

    Who reaslly cares about changinging service providers. It has never really been a big problem for me. What they should look at is regulating the outrageous cancellation fees that you are required to pay if you lose or break a phone burt are required to keep paying for or if you have to buy a new phone that you are committed to another three years.

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  11. Jonesy

    For being such a force in the technological world (creator of two computer programming languages, home of RIM, and many other technologically adept companies) we are sure hamstrung here. We are the most back a-s-swards country among first world countries. I am all for getting rid of the CRTC and letting capitalism take root in the telecom and television industry.

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