Canadian Telco Complaints Rise During COVID-19: Rogers, Videotron See Large Spikes

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The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) has released its annual report, dated August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021, categorizing and documenting the telecom complaints filed by Canadians, after one full year of living through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The report saw over 17,000 complaints accepted—a 9% increase year over year—while the CCTS says it continues to successfully resolve about 90% of complaints. The most common complaint was over the disclosure of information and billing issues. The services with the most complaints? Wireless complaints saw the highest numbers, followed by internet, television and home phone. The CCTS says Wireless Code breached saw a 48% decline this year.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians relied increasingly on their communications services, especially for remote work and learning, keeping in touch with loved ones, ordering essential items and leisure activities,” said Commissioner and CEO of the CCTS, Howard Maker, in an issued statement to iPhone in Canada. “We encourage providers to continue listening to consumers and actively work with their customers to fix problems as they arise. When they are unsuccessful, we are here to help consumers resolve disputes with their service provider.”

The report says while there were 405 service providers documented in the report, 10 of these companies took over 80% of complaints accepted.

During COVID-19, there was a 12% increase in complaints about internet issues, specifically about quality of internet service, which is likely due to the massive increase of Canadians working from home during lockdowns.

Bell Canada took the most complaints from the industry at 3,517, taking nearly 21% of complaints, however, there was a 7.8% decline compared to the previous year.

Rogers took 13.9% of complaints but saw a surge of 32.6% in complaints compared to the previous year. Videotron saw a whopping 57% increase in complaints while Xplornet had a 35.1% increase year over year.

Telus took in 1,221 complaints and saw a 4.7% increase from the previous year.

Telus reacted to the CCTS report by saying they were “proud to once again differentiate ourselves from our peers on this important metric which demonstrates our commitment to putting our customers first, embracing their feedback to continually improve, and our never-ending quest to provide our customers with the best and most innovative technologies that improve their daily lives.”

“The significant investments we make in our culture of putting customers first and our superior network has earned us the most loyal customer base in the industry, though we will not be satisfied and will continue to embrace our customer’s feedback until we receive zero complaints,” said Zainul Mawji, Executive Vice President of Home Solutions, in a statement to iPhone in Canada.

As for Shaw, set to be acquired by Rogers if approved by regulators, it saw 5.1% of complaints and a 12.8% increase compared to the previous year.

Shaw’s Freedom Mobile saw 5.9% of complaints and a decline of 6.7% versus last year. If Shaw was merged with Rogers as of today, complaints would add up to 4,226, and lead the number of accepted complaints overall in the telecom industry, surpassing Bell.