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Ottawa, we have a communications problem …

OTTAWA, 12 May 2020 – The Mid-Year Report 2019-2020 of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) released today shows that Canadian communications customers face a crisis of confidence due to the actions of their service providers.

Wireless issues, as in previous years, continue to lead all services in consumer complaints – with 10,527 (44.2%) out of all 23,839 telecommunications and paid TV service complaints – representing a huge 28% year over year increase in wireless complaints relative to other services.

However, most disturbing in the report is that the leading complaint category for all services (wireless, home Internet, home phone and TV) was found to be “disclosure issues” – a CCTS euphemism for non-disclosure of key terms or providing misleading information about terms of service to the customer. For the first time, such disagreements topped the more mundane issue of “incorrect charges”, followed, as usual, by “intermittent/inadequate quality of service”.

“The main problem with Canadian communications services now is misleading the customer,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “We are most disappointed that communications companies, and in particular wireless companies, appear to feel they may behave this way toward their customers,” he added.

These “disclosure issues” were sub-divided in the CCTS Report into two major sub-categories: first, that the agreement conflicted with what the customer perceived they had agreed to (9.0%); and second, that customers felt misinformed about promotions (2.8%).

PIAC urges the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to take note of this trend and to require more honesty and transparency from service providers. There remains an unacceptable gap between the customer perceptions and company contracts, despite a CRTC Report on Misleading or Aggressive Communications Retail Sales Practices outlining known problems. Such gaps can easily lead to consumers being misled and resulting in ill-informed decisions and consumer dissatisfaction.

For more information, please contact:

John Lawford
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
(613) 447-8125
jlawford@piac.ca

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