Complaints About Canadian Telcos to Rise 50% in 2013

by Istvan Fekete on February 13, 2013

Even Canada’s CCTS (Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunication Services) had his share of complaints about poor service. Until recently his family had four telecom service providers, but now they have only two.

As he points out, he has spent quite some time speaking on the phone with company representatives informing them of his complaints. His main point: Although filling a complaint can be time consuming, this needed to be done. In case of an unsatisfactory reply from the telcos, his office is the next in line.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve torn my hair out–sometimes waiting on hold; sometimes being told different things by the same company depending on what rep I speak to,” says Mr. Howard Maker. “We’ve all been there, and that’s … one of the reasons that we are so sympathetic with consumers.”

Even though many Canadians may have never heard of CCTS, the number of consumer complaints is on the rise: His office has recorded more than 11,000 complaints during the 2011–2012 fiscal year, and his office is on track to record a 50% increase this year.

Now, what do Canadians complain about? The majority of complaints are about wireless services. At top of the list are billing errors and contract disputes, such as early termination fees, which now seem to be on the right track, although the question will remain open until we hear the first satisfied subscriber sharing his experience.

Now, it remains to be seen where the current Wireless Code debate initiate by the CRTC will lead. Those who have been watching the debate live have seen that consumers are aware of the game the telcos are playing. The CRTC wants to create a code to bolster consumer protection in the wireless industry, and up for detabe are draft provisions that aim to tackle everything from the unlocking of smartphones to capping roaming fees. Once the Wireless Code gets finalized, the CCTS office will have a key role in its administration.

Telus representatives had their share of uncomfortable moments yesterday when the CRTC chairman, Mr. Blais, asked Telus company CEO to explain its pricing policy regarding the end of the three-year contract.

Currently CCTS is focused on the resolution of complaints, so some new carriers, such as like Mobilicity and Wind Mobile, have argued that it needs broader powers, as it cannot levy “punitive” penalties on carriers and can only order them to pay compensations of up to $5,000.

Telus, Bell and Rogers, on the other hand, believe the CCTS’ powers are sufficient and it is perfectly suited to enforcing the code.

Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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