FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – OTTAWA – The reduction in telecommunications complaints reported by the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) is largely due to the effect of the Wireless Code and not the actions of the various telecommunications providers, cautioned today the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).
PIAC noted that a careful reading of the CCTS Annual Report 2013-14 shows that of the 17% overall reduction in complaints, more than half of the reduction is directly due to three changes made by the Wireless Code:
•Roaming charges complaints dropped from 721 in 2012-13 to 527 in 2013-14 (nearly a 27% drop in this category);
•Early cancellation fees complaints dropped from 1,490 in 2012-13 to 1,144 in 2013-14 (a 23% drop in this category); and
•30-day cancellation policy complaints dropped from 1,835 in 2012-13 to only 1,167 in 2013-14 (a more than 36% drop in this category).
“The Wireless Code put a cap on roaming and data overage fees, regulated and capped early cancellation fees, and outlawed the extra 30 day charge” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “The wireless carriers should not claim they are better actors – they were made to behave by the Code.”
PIAC further notes the CCTS Annual Report shows a disturbing increase in wireless companies for complaints about “non-disclosure/misleading terms” which are “generally situations in which customers complain that they did not receive full, complete and accurate information” about key terms, prices, what was in a plan and extra service fees. This was the second year of over 70% growth of this type of complaint, making it now the second largest category behind billing errors.
“There is evidently a systemic issue in the wireless industry with non-disclosure of terms and conditions to consumers,” noted Jonathan Bishop, PIAC’s Research Analyst. “We expect the CRTC to address this problem with stringent monitoring of the Wireless Code and otherwise.”
For more information please contact:
Executive Director/General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
(613) 447-8125 (cell)
Research & Parliamentary Analyst
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)