Canada monitors their wireless companies very closely, although Canadians still pay some of the highest communications cost in the world among advanced countries. Canada's Commission for Complaints for Telecommunications (CCTS) does a yearly report and last years listed the same top complaints of billing errors and disputes about their contracts. CCTS has really been focusing on the Wireless Code that went into effect on December 2, 2013. It instructed Canadian carriers to make adjustments in certain billing practices so that it would be easier for the customer to understand exactly what they are being billed.
At that time, SaskTel explained that their current billing system was "not technically capable of monitoring data roaming and data overage charges in real time… [it was] obsolete." SaskTel claims they want to make using them as your wireless carrier as easy and transparent as possible. They already complied in several areas: Alerting customers on international data usage, including the rates for voice, text messaging and data usage – Offering 12 and 24 month contract terms – Unlocking phones – Offering trial periods for wireless contracts and phones – Provide customers with their contract and related documents in plain language, so it's easy to read and understand.
To continue to comply more with the Wireless Code, they will: Limit your cancellation fees – Provide customers with disabilities with a copy of their contract in alternative format, and also give them a longer trial period to ensure that the service and phone meets their needs – They will provide caps on data overage charges as required by the Wireless Code and if you signed your contract on or after December 2, 2013, you have additional rights to:
Cancel your contract at no cost after a maximum of two years – Cancel your contract and return your phone at no cost, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if you are unhappy with your service – Get a Critical Information Summary, which explains your contract in under two pages – Refuse a change to your contract's key terms and conditions, including the services in your contract, the price for those services, and your contract's duration – A minimum seven-day grace period to "top up" your prepaid card account and retain your balance.
Finally, they are launching a new billing system that will make improvements to your bill and it will be easier to manage and understand. They promise "simplified plan information," so if you have a plan that includes data, it will now appear as one item on your bill, rather than two. It will also include "simplified usage information," that will summarize your usage in a clearer format. You will have more detail for pay-per-use services and if you subscribe to detailed billing, you will see a daily view of your pay-per-use services and charges.
The rollout will go into place on their 620,000 customers' upcoming May invoices, making monthly bills easier to understand and manage. Check out some of the 'before' and 'after' shots of the bill below and you can see for yourself if you think they are easier and more transparent to understand.