CRTC sets out new disconnection and deposit code

GATINEAU, Que. — Consumers have to be notified at least 14 days in advance before their home phones can be disconnected for failing to pay their bills under a new code of conduct the CRTC has set out for telephone companies.

GATINEAU, Que. — Consumers have to be notified at least 14 days in advance before their home phones can be disconnected for failing to pay their bills under a new code of conduct the CRTC has set out for telephone companies.

The code also sets out the hours and days during which companies may disconnect service and the maximum deposit that can be requested for phone service.

Codes were different from province to province and didn’t apply to newcomers offering home phone service, such as Quebecor’s Videotron, CRTC spokesman Denis Carmel said Monday.

“Now we have a code that applies to everybody equally,” Carmel said.

Phone companies have to give customers a reason for disconnecting service and service can be cut on weekdays only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and on weekends between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., he said.

The maximum deposit that a phone company can require is three months or the total cost of the equipment provided to a customer, Carmel said.

The code will apply to both large telephone companies and their competitors starting on May 14, 2012.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission had asked the telecom industry and consumer groups to develop the code.