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You have rights. Information about your local home telephone services - page 3 / 11

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In most circumstances, you will be able to keep your phone number when you change phone companies, providing that you stay within the same local telephone service area. When switching to a new telephone company, you should consult with that company to see whether you can keep your existing phone number.

Your rights regarding deposits for service

Your phone company may only ask for a deposit in specific circumstances and there may be alternatives to paying a deposit.

The phone company may ask you for a deposit if you do not have a credit history with the company and you cannot provide satisfactory credit information, you have a poor credit rating with the phone company, or you otherwise pose a high risk of not paying your telephone bill.

The deposit, where required, generally does not exceed the total of three months' phone charges from the company, including charges for local phone service and any extra services you decide to purchase, such as long distance service and optional local services.

The phone company must inform you of the reasons for asking you to pay a deposit and explain that there may be other options available. For example, you can arrange for someone else, who has a good credit rating with the phone company, to sign a contract with the phone company, agreeing to pay your bill if you don't. This person is called a guarantor. You can also have someone else pay your bill for you. Another option is to get a letter of credit from a financial institution.

You earn interest on deposits that you have paid to the phone company. The amount of your deposit and the interest you have earned will periodically be shown on your phone bill.

The phone company must periodically review the need to keep your deposit, or the alternatives to the deposit. If the reasons that justified the need for your deposit are no longer present, the phone company must return your deposit, and any interest, to you promptly.

If you cancel your service with your phone company, your deposit plus interest will be returned to you, less any amounts that you still owe.

Your rights when the phone company wants to cut off your phone service

Your phone company can only disconnect your local phone service in specific circumstances and after taking specific steps.

Circumstances when your local phone service cannot be cut off Under no circumstances can the phone company cut off your local phone service because you have not paid for other phone services, such as long distance, Internet or cellular services.

The phone company cannot cut off your local phone service at one location because you have not paid your bill for a different class of service at another location, such as business phone service. Also, if you are a guarantor who promised to pay someone else's bill, the phone company cannot cut off your local phone service because you have not paid that person's bill.

If you are unable to pay the full amount that you owe for your phone services, you have the right to arrange a reasonable payment plan with the phone company. The phone company cannot cut off your local phone service if you are willing to enter into, and honour, a reasonable payment plan. You may also want

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