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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

If you were buying a new car, would you want a KIA Soul ... a Honda Accord ... or a Lincoln? Would something else meet your needs, and what would that be? Those are questions to know first


Yesterday, the BC government announced that residents, ‘... who feel they are being gouged on their cellphone bills will have help with the appointment of a federal lead on telecommunications ...

They were doing this because, “... according to thousands of responses to a recent government survey, there is frustration, confusion and unhappiness with cellphone contracts and billing ...


As someone who worked in the industry for 5 years, and in retail sales for a very long time, I feel competent to make a few observations.

First ... there are good and bad sales people.  Not matter what the product or service, there will be exceptional people that are knowledgeable, and work very hard to qualify their customers to ensure they get the right product at the right price.  There are also those whose first concern is themselves and getting as much money as they can in commissions.  Then there are those in the middle who are simply order takers.  You lead the sales process and they simply do as you ask. 

A good sales person will take the time to understand your lifestyle, how (and what) you are going to be using your phone and the features it provides.  Will you only need calling that’s local ... Canada-wide ... International ... and the same thing for texting? That’s just the bare minimum.

Second ... no matter what the product being offered, there is a minimum price required to be profitable. 

Canada is a big country, and compared to many in the world, our population is thinly spread.  We also have areas with high mountain peaks.  Providing service means that Canada requires a much larger number of cellular towers than nearly every country in the world.  And you can well imagine, putting one up in the city, or flat terrain, would be relatively a reasonable cost – picture however trying to get people and equipment to some of the terrain in the Rockies?  It’s a big expense, and it needs to be paid for, and it is NOT cheap.

Third ... the quality of product will dictate, to a large extent, the cost of what you purchase.  Let’s use the Behr paint example of Good, Better, Best. 

If you want the newest and latest electronics, with all the bells and whistlers, it has to be paid for some way or other.  That is through the cost of service being provided by your carrier.  One the other hand, if you only need and require a basic phone – or one that’s new in the box but that was on the market a year or two ago – you’ll be paying much less.

I’ve seen a basic good quality phone for a couple hundred dollars ... the latest and greatest however from Google, Samsung, or Apple for example, are going to be well over a thousand dollars. The bottom line ... you’re paying for that.


Fourth ... THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE PHONE ... if you need to, refresh above on #3

While you may pay zero dollars, up front, the cost of your device, will be added to, and included in the cell phone service you pay for.

Fifth ... we as consumers also have a responsibility for what we buy, purchase, and consume as customers.

Are you going to be attracted to, and want, the latest shiny bauble?  Do you need the newest phone with all of the latest technology?  Will a new basic model with the features you actually need be good for you? Do you just need a simple basic phone?  And importantly – how long will you be keeping and using your phone for?

If you are looking at service from a second-tier provider, with a lower price, how good will the service be?  Are there any restrictions?  After sales service?  Will it meet your requirements and needs? If the answer is yes, then it will be good value ... but if not, then you will not be satisfied. 


If you were buying a new vehicle right now, would you want a KIA Soul ... a Honda Accord ... or a Lincoln?  Would something else meet your needs, and what would that be?  Those are questions you would want to know BEFORE you went out to make the purchase.  

In other words, there is a responsibility we have in the transactions we make.

Don’t get suckered in by the shiniest brightest item on the shelf – don’t be taken in by the hard sell, walk away – and only buy what you need!  And make sure, especially in the case of a written contract / agreement with a cellular phone service provider, that they go over with you the costs associated with that service you will be receiving, and what any and all added costs will be.

Finally, I must say that this list of things to be aware of is by no means complete, and I am sure there is more you could add.  Feel free, in the Comments Section below.

As for the government, next steps for them will include engaging stakeholders in more focused discussions and undertaking a legislative review of BC’s consumer protection laws. As well, the Province will engage with Canada’s new government to advocate for better affordability and transparency in the federally regulated telecom sector.


NOW ... HERE’S HOW YOU CAN LEARN MORE:

Premier John Horgan’s letter to MLA Bob D’Eith, who will be advocating for the concerns of British Columbians, to the federal government: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/20191119_Letter_Telecommunications.pdf

Read the Cellphone Billing Transparency: What We Heard report: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/impact/cell-phone-billing-results/

Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission Wireless Code: https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/mobile/codesimpl.htm

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