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“You’re on your own” if you get upsold or oversold while buying communications services
OTTAWA, February 14, 2017 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today reacted negatively to a letter from the Chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) rejecting PIAC’s call for the CRTC to pursue a public inquiry into reported inappropriate, aggressive and potentially misleading sales of communications services.
John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC, said in reaction to the letter: “The CRTC refusal to inquire into the shocking sales practices of Canada’s major telecommunications and broadcasting companies says to consumers ‘You’re on your own.’”
The CRTC letter refers Canadians to the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) but neglects to mention that sales practices generally are not covered by the agency, which has only contractual interpretation powers and in fact explicitly refuses to deal with misleading advertising, which it refers to the Competition Bureau. The CRTC letter also says: “Canadians may contact the Competition Bureau with their concerns.”
“Sending Canadians to these bodies to try to extract themselves from poor deals after the fact instead of proactively investigating them and restoring the public trust in the market is a major abdication of responsibility by the CRTC,” further noted Lawford. “Why is this being investigated with banks but not telcos? Do telcos get a special deal from regulators?” he added, referring to two separate investigations of bank sales practices by regulators in that industry.