Improving Data Overage Disclosure Practices In The Telecom Industry


In 2017, Canadians spent nearly  1.3 Billion in data overage fees according to the CRTC, creating frustrations and potentially adding undue damage to provider-client relationships.. This creates a sense of distrust and skepticism, where consumers feel like they are being “cheated” or “scammed” by big corporations – a concern directly relating to issues faced by individuals interacting with investment and financial bodies. 


We wanted to investigate whether the form of disclosure provided for data usage and overage sent to consumers could significantly affect consumer attitudes toward providers. The intention was to assess the conditions for fair and efficient markets and confidence in markets, and to contribute to the stability of the provider system and the reduction of systemic risk.




increase in trust toward the provider

We ran an online experiment on 104 Canadians where we provided participants with a hypothetical month of text messages about data usage from a provider and asked them to rate the company based on these interactions. We found that even small changes in the framing of the messages were able to have significant effects on consumer attitudes. This has important implications for how consumers respond to information and notices from third-parties in financial-relations, particularly when there are compounding issues of unfair treatment, poor information, and lack of confidence. 

  • 15% increase in feeling that provider had their best interests at heart
  • 10% increase in the cost savings required for the person to consider switching
  • 20% increase in feeling that provider had their best interests at heart

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