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CCTS says telecoms complaints surge on billing, contracts issues

CCTS recieved 19,287 complaints in the fiscal year ending July 31, up from the 14,272 the previous year.


OTTAWA — Complaints against telecom and cable companies rose by 35% last year to continue an upward surge in disputes, says the consumer agency tasked to deal with them.

The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Service says in its annual report that it received 19,287 complaints in the fiscal year ending July 31, up from the 14,272 received the year before and more than double the amount from two years earlier.

“Record numbers of complaints, rapid industry change, and our own desire for continuous improvement have motivated us to focus on our dispute resolution process,” CCTS commissioner and CEO Howard Maker said in a statement.

The commission, mandated by the CRTC but funded by the industry, says about 91% of complaints were successfully resolved.

It says Bell accounted for the most complaints at about 30%, Rogers made up 9%, and Telus was third with 8% of complaints.

The CCTS says wireless services were the main areas of complaints, followed by internet-related problems, while the main issues in the complaints were billing and contact disputes.

The commission says complaints on billing include disputes such as customers being charged but not provided service, billed after service cancellation, and promised discounts and promotions not honoured.

Contract complaints include being provided the wrong internet package, not disclosing information or notices as required, and issues with contract terms and prices.

It says the 158 confirmed breaches of the wireless code was up 42% from a year earlier. The code was implemented in 2013 and sets out rules on areas like contract clarity and bill management.

Bell Canada accounted for 29.1% of code breaches, Telus and Rogers were tied at 19.6% of them, and Freedom Mobile made up 15.8%. Fido, Virgin, Videotron and Chatr also recorded breaches.

The commission notes that despite the record number of overall complaints, 182 service providers had zero complaints, and another 107 had three or less.

 

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