Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A modest proposal for the Throne Speech

I expect the Throne Speech is already written, but in case Canada’s Now Slightly Used Government is looking for another crumb to throw at the feet of us “hard-working Canadian families”, here’s one: pay-as-you-go cell phones!

Like many “hard-working Canadian families”, we have a couple of cell phones that are intended for emergency use only (we don’t feel the need to chat non-stop when out of the house). As infrequent users, the cheapest option is the pay-as-you-go plan, however both Bell Mobility and Rogers (perhaps other providers as well) have a “use it or lose it” policy when it comes to these phones. That means the minutes you purchase up front lapse after 30 or 60 days unless you buy even more minutes. Don’t buy more minutes within the 30 or 60 day period (whether you need them or not) and you lose whatever credit you had accumulated to that point – wiped out.

The bottom line is if you don’t use something you have paid for within an arbitrary period of time set by the provider, they simply confiscate it. Imagine selling your boat to a neighbour, and then when he doesn’t go fishing for two months you simply back up your truck, hook it up, and tow it back to your place. Do you think the police might have something to say about that?

So Jimbo Flaherty, instead of wasting your time harassing the banks over Interact charges that cost some “hard-working Canadian families” what, $3.50 a year or thereabouts, why not go after the slightly bigger fish (staying with the boating analogy) that are ripping many of us off to the tune of hundreds of dollars a year.

Just a suggestion.

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