CRTC Unveils Draft TV Code, Proposes CCTS as Ombudsman for Complaints

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today unveiled a draft code that will force broadcasters to provide clearer information to their customers and direct them to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) to solve disputes with service providers.

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As the CRTC press release emphasizes, the code was drafted based on input received from Canadians during the Let’s Talk TV hearings, which revealed that companies often provide misleading or inaccurate information and some of them lack customer service.

Under the new code, companies will be forced to use easy-to-understand agreements, notify customers of changes to services, and clarify the terms surrounding the addition or cancellation of channels, early cancellation fees, and others.

In addition, the CRTC would expand the mandate of the CCTS to handle complaints for television services. CCTS CEO Howard Maker welcomed the CRTC’s initiative and said that he is ready to accept the mandate.

During the Let’s Talk TV hearings, Maker already pointed to the number of television-related complaints the CCTS receives but cannot handle because they are outside its current mandate.

Before finalizing the new code, the CRTC invites Canadians to share their views on three major questions:

• What kind of information should cable and satellite providers give subscribers when they sign up?
• How much notice should cable and satellite providers have to give when they change the price of channels or packages of channels?
• What would constitute a reasonable timeframe for service calls by cable and satellite providers?

The comments are open until May 25, 2015. Canadians can share their thoughts on the draft code by filling out the online form, writing to the Secretary General, or sending a fax to 819-994-0218.

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