Can my service provider cut off my cellphone service?

Service providers must follow certain rules before they cut off your cellphone service. For example, they might be able to or your service if you don't pay your bill on time.

Sometimes, they cannot suspend or disconnect your service at all. They also cannot suspend or disconnect your service at certain times of the day.

If your provider wants to suspend or disconnect your service, they usually have to notify you, in writing, at least 14 days in advance. In some cases, they must also notify you a second time 24 hours before your service is interrupted.

If you are suspended or disconnected by mistake

If a provider interrupts your service by mistake, they must reconnect it by the end of the next business day they became aware of the error. They are not allowed to charge you any fees for reconnecting.

If the service provider does not follow the rules, you can make a complaint to the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS).

Prepaid phones

The disconnection rules do not apply to prepaid accounts. This is because you have to pay for your phone time before you use it, so you cannot fall behind on your payments like you can with a postpaid account.

If you use prepaid cards with your phone, you usually need to use your by a certain date. If that date passes and your balance expires, the service provider must give you at least 7 days to “top up” your account and keep your remaining hours. Topping up means adding more money to your account. The service provider must not charge you any extra fees for topping up or adding time to your account. They also can't charge you extra fees for giving you the 7 days to top up the account.

When you top up your account within 7 days, any money that you had on your phone that expired must be put back into your account. For example, if you prepaid for $20 of service and it expired when you still had $10 on your account, the service provider must put that $10 back on your account.

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