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Annual Report Shows Telecom Providers not Advising Consumers of Complaints Body

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA – Telecommunication service providers are not effectively informing their customers of Canada’s free complaints body, according to data released today in the Annual Report 2012-13 of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS). The CCTS is mandated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to resolve internet, wireline telephone and wireless service problems for Canadians.

“Telecom service providers are ignoring their responsibility to consumers to make them aware of the CCTS,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). “This is like hiding the box so no one can drop in a complaint,” Lawford added. According to the survey:

• 90.1% of respondents say their provider did not advise them of CCTS when discussing their complaint
• 84.8% say they have never seen a mention of CCTS on their bills
• 83.3% say they have never seen a prescribed notice about the CCTS on the website of their provider

Nonetheless, the CCTS Annual Report shows a 26% annual increase in complaints accepted, with complaints about wireless providers comprising more than 60% of all complaints received by the CCTS for the second straight year. On a positive note, the report noted a 98% decrease in the number of times premium text messaging was raised as an issue in 2012-2013. PIAC studied premium text messaging in 2011, and concluded that consumers needed better protection against unauthorized billing for mobile premium services, especially from their wireless service provider.

“Even with the adoption of an enforceable, comprehensive Wireless Code, the wireless industry needs to address chronic consumer problems like billing errors and non-disclosure of terms,” said Lawford. “We encourage the CRTC and the wireless industry to collaborate effectively in order to remedy these persistent consumer issues.”

The CCTS is an effective and free service available to all telecom customers who have been unable to resolve their complaints to their satisfaction with their telecom provider. The CCTS noted the results of a survey regarding their service in which over 80% of CCTS customers surveyed noted CCTS staff were accessible, timely, professional and impartial.

For more information:

John Lawford
Executive Director, General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002×25
(613) 447-8125 (cell)
jlawford@piac.ca

or

Jonathan Bishop
Research Analyst
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002×23

jbishop@piac.ca

http://www.piac.ca

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