Telecom Complaints Climb to Frightening Heights

by Jordan Richardson on October 29, 2010

With Halloween coming up on Sunday, I thought it would be cool to take a look for a particularly ghoulish tale to tell the faithful readers of The Telecom Blog. I ventured into the dark expanse of the internet in search of something truly frightening. Perhaps there would be a story about Telus attempting to erect a cell tower in a graveyard. Or maybe Bell would force customers to pick up their cell phone bills in a haunted house.

No such luck. The chilling, terrifying, blood-curdling, spine-tingling tales of woe that I thought would come from one of the providers simply wasn’t there. And I’d already covered Caya

Then it hit me like a little haunted kid with a ball-peen hammer: Canadians are downright haunted by their cell phone providers.

It turns out that I wasn’t the only one with this idea, as Canada’s Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) has just reported yet another year of increased complaints from Canadians pertaining to their cell phone service. I could hear the screams of terror and pain in my head as CCTS’ third annual report (PDF) opened up like a murky crypt.

“As evidenced in our third annual report, customer contact with CCTS has increased 150% from the previous year,” said Commissioner Howard Maker. “The public awareness activities in which we are engaging, launched in partnership with our participating service providers, have served to inform consumers we are here to help them. Canadians are increasingly aware they can contact us with their concerns or complaints.”

Many analysts are toe-tagging the staggering amount of complaints on the education campaign the CCTS has put into motion. Operating since 2007, the CCTS exists to provide consumers with “an independent mechanism for resolution of complaints about deregulated local and long distance telephone services, as well as wireless service and internet access.”

The CCTS processed 3,522 complaints last year, marking an increase of 17% over the previous year. Of those complaints, 94% were fully processed. 84% of the fully processed complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of the consumer and the service provider, which means that the providers are cooperating with the CCTS and the consumer to resolve these situations in an effective manner.

Billing and contract issues, as you might imagine, led the way on the list of complaints at almost 80%.

Bell topped the list with 1,428 complaints. Telus and Rogers ventured in with 657 and 540 complaints respectively. WIND Mobile, incidentally, had a single complaint registered with the CCTS.

The report also noted the necessity of Canadian consumers to look at the details of their contracts before getting locked in to agreements they’ll regret later.

So sure, this might not be the bone-chilling, demonic, scary tale that I thought when I first started out on this most monstrous of missions. But it still does continue to prove that Canadians are less than thrilled with their wireless service options in this country. Whether it’s a line of straight “F” from the Better Business Bureau or the list of complaints from the CCTS, Canadians are starting to scream about their cell phone service. And the sound is petrifying.

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