Telecom service agreements: that “forever price” may only be a “for now price”

From: Competition Bureau Canada

Don’t be taken in by false promises

May 16, 2019 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

Looking for a great deal on Internet, television or phone services? Telecom sales representatives may promise you will be able to renew your service contract at special promotional prices. But be skeptical. That great deal may not exist.

Consumers often complain that company sales staff may give the impression that promotional prices are guaranteed. That is known as a “forever price.” What they may fail to mention is that the “guaranteed” price is a monthly discount, and not a fixed price.

And those Terms of Service you agreed to? They may allow the service provider to raise the price during your commitment period. Beware, since once you’ve entered into an agreement, that “guaranteed” or “forever price” may go up.

Providers may also promise that if you call the Customer Service Centre near the end of your promotional period, you’ll be able to renew your services at the reduced price-but when you make that call, you’re told that the special price is only available to new customers.

Here’s how to put these tactics on hold:

  • Do your research. Ask whether the promotional price applies to new customers only. Ask what the regular price will be after the promotion expires.
  • Know the key terms and conditions of your agreement. Read the fine print in online ads or flyers. Advertisements often note in small print that the price for services may increase during the customer’s subscription period.
  • Read your service agreement carefully. Always ask for a copy of the Terms of Service and read them carefully. Get quotes in writing. Check to see if you’ll be charged a fee if you cancel before the end of your subscription period.
  • Remember, there may be a cooling off period. When you sign a contract for a product or service from a door-to-door sales agent, you may be entitled to a specified number of days to cancel that agreement without reason or penalty. The number of days varies. Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office for details.
  • Keep thorough records. Some advertisements are regional or time sensitive; therefore, authorities may not have access to the ads in question. Whenever possible, keep copies of digital and print ads, emails from telecom sales representatives, and documentation regarding any oral representations made to you at the time of entering into the agreement, and submit them when you file your complaint.

If you believe you have been misled by a Telecom Service Provider, contact the Competition Bureau and file a complaint by phone at 1-800-348-5358 or online.

/Public Release. View in full here.