OTTAWA, March 30, 2016–Telecommunications companies continue to send disputed bills to collections even when consumers complain to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), reveals the 2015-16 CCTS Mid-Year Report, said consumer group the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).  Recent guidance from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) noted collection action for disputed bills should be suspended during CCTS complaints process.  However, in over 300 cases so far this year, issues with credit reporting show the companies are using unfair leverage when consumers make legitimate complaints.
“Telecom companies must stop holding customers hostage when they dare to bring a complaint to the CCTS,” noted John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.  “Unfair referrals to collection during legitimate consumer disputes undermine the integrity of the dispute resolution process, is threatening to consumers and must stop.”
The Mid-Year Report also contains high numbers of complaints related to excess data charges: there were nearly 300 data overage charge complaints.
“Recently, media outlets suggested minors are routinely able to consent to data charges beyond a monthly shared data plan allocation. The Wireless Code does not address this issue directly, nor can the CCTS. It’s a system set up to fail parents while padding the bottom line for service providers,” stated Jonathan Bishop, Research Analyst for PIAC.
For more information please contact:
John Lawford
Executive Director
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002 x25
(613) 447-8125 (cell)
Jonathan Bishop
Research & Parliamentary Affairs Analyst
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002 ×23