If your phone is lost or stolen

What are my rights?

If I lose my phone, do I have to pay for unauthorized use of the phone?
  • Yes
  • No

It can be stressful to lose your phone or have it stolen. Here are steps you can take to protect yourself.

What you should know

Your responsibility for charges

If your phone is lost or stolen and someone else runs up a big bill on your phone, you’ll usually have to pay for any use of the phone up until the time you notify your service provider that the phone is missing.

Once you notify your provider that your device was lost or stolen, the provider must immediately suspend your service, at no charge. You can not be charged for any subsequent use another person makes of your phone that adds extra charges to your bill. (You can still be charged for your regular service.) 

If your provider charges you the full amount for any calls or texts before you reported it lost or stolen, you can ask if they can reduce the bill. Sometimes they’ll do this as a gesture of goodwill but they don’t have to.

If your provider tries to charge you for calls or texts made after you reported the phone missing, you should dispute the bill.

Your contract continues to apply

Your contract continues to apply even after you have reported your phone as lost or stolen. You’ll have to carry on paying your regular monthly payments, even while you are without a phone.

You'll have to decide whether to:

  • buy a new phone and continue with your current contract,

  • cancel your contract, or

  • wait until your current contract ends and get a new contract that includes a discounted phone.

To protect yourself in the future

To reduce the risk of theft in future and make the information on your phone more secure:

  • Use the lock code or password feature on your phone at all times.

  • If you have a smartphone, use apps for remotely tracking your phone and erasing its data.

  • Keep information about your phone in a safe place. Note the phone make and model, colour and appearance, and the identification number (IMEI number).

Work out the problem

Step 1. Report your missing phone to your service provider

You should immediately notify your service provider if your phone is lost or stolen, so they can block it and stop anyone else using it.

When a cellphone is reported as lost or stolen to a Canadian service provider, the phone’s identification number (IMEI number) is added to a shared national blacklist. Any device listed on the blacklist is blocked, and service providers do not allow it to be used on their networks.

If your phone was stolen, ask your service provider for the phone's IMEI number. You’ll need to give this number to the police.

Step 2. If your phone was stolen, report the theft to police

You should report a stolen phone to your local police as soon as you can. You’ll need to give them the phone’s identification number (IMEI number).

Make a note of the police file or case number — you’ll need it if you want to claim on insurance.

Step 3. If your phone is insured, check with your insurance provider

If your phone is insured you might be covered for the cost of unauthorised calls made between losing your phone and reporting it missing.

If your phone is insured or covered by your home insurance policy, you’ll usually be able to claim for a new phone. Contact your insurance provider to find out what coverage you have and how you can proceed with getting a replacement.

If your phone was stolen you’ll need to give your insurance provider the police file or case number.

Common questions

If I find my phone, can my service provider charge a fee to restore my service?

No. If you find your phone, your service provider must restore your service at no charge.

Who can help

Helpful agencies

Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services
CCTS deals with cellphone, TV and internet service complaints.

  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in July 2019
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Time to read: 3 minutes

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