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A $ 5000 Bell bill? Parents are struggling with wireless running charges


Heather Anne LaBrie also pays a surprise $ 5,000 bill for Bell long distance minutes and the current charges, tortured her 16-year-old son at the end of last year.

"This is the worst feeling ' says Gunn-Labre, who lives in Edmonton and shares a small business plan for wireless with her son and husband.

"It is unseemly amount of stress put on my family & # 39; and."

Recently released a review commissioned by KTROK – the regulator of telecommunications in Canada – offers many Canadians struggle with wireless unexpected charges. Since 1152 wireless clients, interviewed by telephone in September, 24 percent said they have experienced bill shock for the last year. This number rose to 29 percent for those with general plans.

Anna LaBrie and some other parents have recently hit the big time with a wireless accounts say there should be more protection in place to help curb runaway costs, especially when sharing plans with minors.

CRTC introduced regulations to protect customers from data assembly and roaming. However, when it comes to texting, or – in the case of Anne LaBrie in – long-distance and current-minute charges, the same rules do not apply.

"It's horrible," she said"It really is a double standard."

"Absolute shock"

Anne LaBrie trouble began when, starting from mid-October to early December, her son ran to $ 6774 in expenses, mainly for long-distance calls to his girlfriend, who lives 150 km away from his home in Edmonton.

Bell initially forgave $ 521 of the amount. Then he hit another $ 1163After Anna LaBrie complained Complaints Telecom-television services, the Commission – Telecom hour.

It pays down the remaining $ 5,090 in installments, because it is all she can afford.

"It's just a huge weight sitting on us."

Zylster Joy and her husband, Dave, struggling to pay the wireless phone bill of $ 1,800, they said that no idea will not come. (Submitted Joy Zlystra)

When she received her plan LaBrie Anna felt that she enrolled her son for an unlimited Canada-Wide calling. She had just learned about the unexpected expenses, when she opened her November and December account at the beginning of December.

"It was an absolute shock," she said. "I had no idea that could get that high that quickly and without warning."

Bell said he sent 11 text warnings about installing user charges break them, and that Anna LaBrie is listed as the owner of the account for each line of its plan.

She said that her son remembers receiving several warnings, but he ignored them because he thought that they are involved by his mother, and that she would get them too – but she did not.

Bell also said that he called three times and left messages. Anna LaBrie said she did not receive any calls and, upon request, her son recalled Bell communication, but it was unclear what it was about.

"I was supposed to be notified"

Joy and Dave Zylstra in Edmonton is also still struggling to pay off a large bell bills: $ 1800 accrual text messages in the US, recently racked up their 14-year-old daughter on a general plan something & # 39; and.

Again, only the telephone Bell's daughter got a message that she ignored, thinking that they were not meant for her.

"I had to be notified," said Dave Zylstra. "I could immediately understand that the issue and dealt with it."

Desiree Goodwin Port Elgin, nota bene, like she got a notice after receiving a surprise $ 635 Telus account in long-distance and during a call minutes charge. They rushed her son – at the age of 18 at the time – from mid-October to mid-November at the general plan something & # 39; and.

Desiree Goodwin Port Eglin, nota bene, said she was near tears when she got through Telus for $ 635 in overage fees. Telus cut by up to $ 292. (Submitted Desiree Goodwin)

Telus is covered with $ 343 of the amount of "an act of good will," Goodwin leaving with $ 292 banknote Telecommunications also said that it helped Goodwin resolve this problem by switching up his son to the similarly priced one of unlimited nationwide talk and text.

"I was in tears," said Goodwin, the first time she found the accusation. "There should be a limit that can be set."

This limit is already in place – but only for data and roaming, and not long-distance, current or short text message charges.

The CRTC requires that telecommunications companies need to cut from the client, as soon as they reached the $ 50 or $ 100 data roaming – If customers do not agree with the other charges.

In the case of the general plan, the account holder must provide such consent – usually CRTC introduced in 2017 after complaints of teens working on pricing.

"Pernicious pricing mechanism"

Consumer advocate John Lawford said KTROK rules for data and roaming should apply to all wireless cards.

"Excessive fees harmful pricing mechanism," said Lawford, executive director of the Ottawa-based Public Interest Advocacy Center.

"You just do not open your account and go," Oh, this is four digits. Most people can not afford it. "

Consumer advocate John Lawford says that all payments should be treated equally when it comes to consumer protection rules by bill shock. (Jonathan Dupaul / CBC)

In an email to CBC News, the CRTC said that when he created its own rules Wireless Code in 2013, and then updated them in 2017, it was found that the data and roaming have been the main sources of bill shock.

Telecom regulator said that management costs are added text messaging, long distance, and the current minutes there, "over time, become more understandable for consumers."

But this is not always the case. Respondents in the latter CRTC-commissioned survey led for long distance as the third-largest customer accounts as a result of shock after the data and roaming.

The CRTC previous survey conducted in September 2016, the current minute surpluses were brought in as the third largest culprit, after the data and roaming.

The three major telecommunications companies, Bell, Telus and Rogers each say they provide customers with online tools to help them to closely monitor all the lines on your phone plan. They also said, customers can change their plans to include unlimited offers, if they work up overage charges.

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