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Billing and payments

Deposits

You might need to pay a deposit for ‘post-paid’ services. This is a way for providers to offset the risk that you might miss payments or refuse to pay.

Those with good credit and/or good payment history with a particular provider may be exempt from security deposits. This is why some providers ask to check your credit before signing up. You can ask some companies (like Ontario utility companies) for your deposit back if you have no outstanding arrears payments.

What are my rights around promotional pricing?

The Competition Act (Federal) has 5 pricing-related provisions reflecting consumer rights in this area. For ‘promotional pricing’ suppliers cannot make false or misleading representations about the price of a good/service. Make sure to read the terms & conditions and ask your provider if they price may change. Ask how you can cancel before the price change (e.g. after a free trial period, which may automatically renew the service).

Find out more: Consumer Protection Ontario – information about your consumer rights and how to make complaints 

Help! My bill is wrong

Your rights will depend on the type of service/provider policies. The Wireless Code includes provisions on billing/pricing for wireless services. According to the Consumer Protection Act, if you are given a price estimate in your agreement, the amount you are charged cannot exceed the estimate by more than 10%. The Consumer Protection Act also says that if there is confusion around your agreement, and your misinterpretation is reasonable, your interpretation of the agreement may be upheld.

Find out more: Consumer Protection Ontario – information about your consumer rights and how to make complaints 

Payment support for low-income earners

Many service providers with post-paid services offer low-income assistance plans:

Eligible low-income clients can have more time to pay outstanding electricity/utility bills in Ontario AND $500 in emergency assistance for electricity/natural gas bills (Ontario Energy Board)

Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) lower electricity bills for low-income households (monthly credit applied directly to your bill)

Canadians wireless service providers often offer credit monitoring/limit programs aimed at making it easier for low-income individuals to access wireless services (e.g. no need for security deposit)

Find out more: Government of Canada – information about benefits you may be entitled to | LIEN – information about energy financial assistance programs