My 15-year-old son signed a cellphone contract without my knowing. Is the contract valid?
A person of any age can enter into a contract in BC. But special rules apply if a person under age 19 (called a "minor" under BC law) enters into a contract.
A contract cannot be enforced against a minor. There are some exceptions:
- if the contract provides the minor with the "necessaries" of life—services that are vital to the minor's health or welfare,
- if on reaching age 19, the minor affirms the contract (that is, accepts it), or
- if within one year of reaching age 19, the minor partially performs the contract or doesn't "repudiate" the contract (that is, doesn't reject it).
On the other hand, a minor can enforce a contract against an adult party to the contract.
The result is that if a business enters into a contract with a person under age 19, the minor isn't responsible for keeping up his or her end of the bargain. But if the minor wants to enforce the contract, they can.
So if your son wants to keep the cellphone and make the payments under the contract, he could.
But if your son wants out of the contract, he could cancel it. Make sure that your son returns the cellphone to the store. Also, be sure to have your son send a letter to the cellphone provider stating that he is cancelling the contract and confirming that they will close his account. Keep a copy for your files.
What can I do with my old cellphone?
When you have finished with an old cellphone or battery, do not throw either of them out. Your community may have a recycling program to help you dispose of them in a sustainable way. Check with your municipality, or go to Recycle My Cell to find a drop-off location near you or to print out a pre-paid shipping label.
Be sure to remove all of your personal information from the phone before recycling it.