In regulatory policy handed down today, the CRTC has set out new rules which it claims will reduce the hassle Canadians face when trying to switching to a new telephone or television provider.

Under the new measures, a customer’s new telephone or television provider will be able to cancel service from the current provider on behalf of the customer thereby relieving the consumer of having to call their old provider and negotiate the transfer of their service.

For example, under current rules a customer wishing to switch from Telus phone service to Shaw Digital Phone would have to call both Telus and Shaw and would be responsible for trying to facilitate the switch. Under the new rules, the customer will only need to contact their new provider and let them take of cancelling their old service and working out the logistics of the transfer. In our example then, the consumer would only need to contact Shaw (their new provider) and Shaw would deal directly with Telus to manage the switchover.

To avoid slamming (an illegal transfer of your account), the new provider would be required to obtain proper consent before it could arrange with the consumers legacy provider to have the services transferred over. Consumers should note, however, that they will still be responsible for any termination penalties or other terms associated with their existing contract.

Consumers hoping for a lucrative retention offer from their existing service provider will still have the option of cancelling their own service.

Provided the customer has fulfilled any contractual obligations with their existing provider, the CRTC is requiring that customer transfers be completed within two business days, except for wireless service where transfers must be completed within 2.5 hours.

“The new rules will make the transfer process a seamless and convenient experience." said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC.

Discuss the new measures in Digital Home's Internet, Landline and Wireless Phone forum .