CRTC Publishes ‘Secret Shopper Project’ Report on Wireless Companies

Last year, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) received reports that some Canadians were subject to misleading or aggressive sales practices from wireless companies, which prompted the creation of its first-ever secret shopper project.


Today, the Commission has published the findings of its secret project, which reveal that the vast majority of the enlisted shoppers’ interactions with the providers’ sales staff were perceived as positive. However, almost 20% of shoppers perceived they may have faced misleading or aggressive sales practices.

Findings of the secret shopper project also show that misleading or aggressive sales practices occur at a higher rate for certain vulnerable segments of the Canadian population, such as individuals with disabilities and those whose mother tongue is neither English nor French.

“The secret shopper project allowed us to gain on-the-ground insight into the challenges Canadians may face when engaging with communications service providers’ salespeople. While we are encouraged by the results, more needs to be done to stop misleading and aggressive sales practices. This is why the secret shopper project will continue into the future. We look forward to using this information to promote the fair treatment of consumers, said Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO, CRTC”

The Commission used 422 “secret shoppers,” who are trained undercover shoppers sent to provide unbiased feedback on goods and services, to evaluate how wireless services are sold by Bell, Rogers, Telus, SaskTel, Freedom, and Videotron through in-store, phone, and online interactions.

The CRTC intends to proceed with future iterations of the secret shopper project to assist in its decision-making processes. The research was carried out by Forum Research Inc. and spans 37-pages, and segments buyers but doesn’t exactly break down which companies were the worst offenders. Your tax dollars hard at work, folks.