Unfair Wireless Contracts

A recent change by Fido to their their service agreement has been the subject of discussion on HowardForums. Most users posting comments didn’t seem too happy about Fido being able to made changes that are to their detriment during the term of the agreement. However, this type of thing is common in “contracts of adhesion”, particularly those used by telecom companies. Although I have not checked the contracts used by Rogers, Telus or Bell, I suspect they all have similar provisions.

The service agreement provides:

Unless otherwise specified in this Agreement, we may change, at any time, any charges, features or other aspects of the Services or any provision of this Agreement, upon advance notice to you. If you do not accept a change, you may terminate this Agreement and your Services upon at least 30 days advance written notice to us (unless we specify a different notice period for a particular change).

Yes, you can cancel, but if you’re on a contract, you must still pay the termination fee:

Early Termination Fee
31. If, for any reason, your Service is terminated prior to the end of the Fido Agreement (if applicable), you agree to pay us $20 for each phone number deactivated (plus applicable taxes) times the number of months remaining in the service agreement period, to a maximum of $200 per deactivated phone number.

So I ask, how fair is it to be able to unilaterally amend a contract to a consumer’s detriment when their only recourse is to cancel and pay a $200 termination fee? Notice that the termination fee is even payable if the contract is terminated early due to Fido’s breach.