Rules govern the amendment and renewal of home telephone contracts.
Before amending your contract, your home phone service provider must follow certain rules.
Fixed length contracts
For a fixed length contract (fixed period of time, from 1 to 3 years for example), the service provider cannot stipulate that the fundamental elements of the contract may be changed. These fundamental elements include the cost of the service or the length of the contract.
The service provider can, however, include a clause permitting changes to non-essential elements.
If you have entered into an open-ended contract, the service provider can include a clause permitting amendments to both essential and non-essential elements. This clause may deal, for example, with increases in the price of the service.
Requirements for an amendment to be valid
Whether your contract is of fixed length or open-ended, the service provider must respect the following rules in order to amend your contract.
The service provider must have included a clause in your contract. Article 11.2 of the Consumer Protection Act indicates what this clause must contain. In particular, the clause must specify which elements of the contract may be amended.
The service provider must also provide you with written notice at least 30 days before the amendment takes effect. This notice must include only the following information:
- the clause added or amended (the changes);
- the clause as it appeared prior to the amendment;
- the date the change will take effect;
- your rights, should you refuse the amendment.
Refusing an amendment
You can attempt to discuss with your service provider. Some businesses are open to negotiation in order to keep you as a customer.
If you are unable to reach an agreement, you can terminate your contract without charge in the case of an unfavorable amendment. You must inform the service provider that you are cancelling the contract within 30 days of the effective date of the amendment.
Regulations governing the renewal of cellular telephone contracts have been in place since June 30, 2010.
If you have signed a fixed length contract of more than 60 days (a 1-year contract, for example), the service provider cannot include a clause in the contract permitting automatic renewal for another fixed period of time.
The service provider may include a clause allowing for renewal on an open-ended basis.
End of the contract
If you do not wish to automatically renew your contract when it expires, be sure to inform the service provider in the prescribed time period, prior to the renewal date.
The service provider must inform you in writing of the end date of the contract at least two months in advance. This can be done by email or by letter. This rule does not apply to contracts of 60 days or less.
Filling a complaint
If your service provider has not respected the above regulations, you can contact the Office de la protection du consommateur to find out about your options for recourse and to file a complaint. See Contact us to find out how to reach us.